Controversy Surrounds Planned Cell Phone Tower at Lafayette School

Parents are up in arms over plans to build an AT&T cell phone tower at a Lafayette school.

Many showed up Monday night to a planning review meeting to express their concerns.

Chris Smith, who has a daughter attending Saint Perpetua school, was one of the parents in attendance.

"I thought oh my gosh, seriously, you're going to put one right on the playground where kids play all day?" Smith said. "I'm not a doctor or engineer, but there's a ton of literature about the impact on brain development and the health of the children."

Dr. Craig Devinney also is a parent at the school and voiced his concerns to city officials.

"Instead of saying prove to me that it's harmful, prove to me that it's safe," he said. "And I don't think they can do that right now."

Saint Perpetua's pastor refused to answer NBC Bay Area's questions regarding safety concerns, but in a letter to parishioners last month the pastor said money motivated the decision for the tower.

"Unfortunately, there's not a lot of data out there and so we have to try to speculate what is the right thing to do," said Dr. Kareem Mansour, a parent at the school. "And I think because we don't know we need to consider not putting up this tower."

AT&T told NBC Bay Area the planned tower meets all federal rules and that the company has installed dozens of towers a or near schools throughout California.

Here's a list of schedule meetings regarding the planned tower:

  • Tuesday, Jan. 14: AT&T will host an informational meeting about the tower from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Veteran's Memorial Building, 3780 Mt. Diablo Blvd. in Lafayette.
  • Thursday, Jan. 16: Concerned parents will meet with doctors and experts about the tower at 6:30pm at the Veteran's Memorial Building.
  • February 3: Lafayette Planning Commission scheduled at 7 p.m. at the Lafayette Library and Learning Center's Community Hall, 3491 Mt. Diablo Blvd. in Lafayette.
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