Wyandotte meeting about cellphone tower on school building abruptly ends in chaos

Posted at 11:51 PM, Mar 02, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-02 23:51:33-05

WYANDOTTE, Mich. (WXYZ) — Wyandotte parents are heated over a cellphone tower being built on top of Washington Elementary School.

The district held a special meeting Thursday night to discuss the construction and answer questions about radiation exposure concerns and whether it poses a health risk to kids.

Wyandotte Superintendent Catherine Cost abruptly ended the meeting after she felt parents became unruly.

"The only thing this district did not consider is the health of our kids and our staff members," said Josh Castmore, a practicing attorney and parent.

The meeting was meant to ease parents' concerns, but it quickly erupted into chaos.

Wyandotte district leaders attempted to explain how a cellphone tower ended up on top of Washington Elementary.

"I am going to turn the microphone over to Mr. Ken Laub, who is going to talk about timelines and how we got to where we are today," Cost said.

According to the presentation, the school board was approached by Catalyst Network Services back in 2017. The company was working with T-mobile and explained Washington elementary, strategically, was in a unique position for a cellphone tower.

"On June 19 of 2018, the board approved the lease agreement, which included mandatory compliance with federal, state and local rules and regulations. That was important to us," said Ken Laub, finance director for the Wyandotte Public Schools.

Laub went on to say construction was delayed due to the pandemic and is set to resume.

Cost told 7 Action News that T-mobile is paying the district about $1,000 a month for the space.

Laub's information session was cut short after numerous outbursts from the crowd.

"We have the information, we want answers. We want to know why we weren't notified," a concerned father in the crowd said.

Cost condemned the outbursts.

"I don't want to conduct a meeting like this," Cost said.

Cost assured parents that by Federal Communications Commission standards, the tower doesn't constitute as a health hazard.

But a study by the American Academy of Pediatrics in 2016 found that rats exposed to the radiation cellphones emit were more likely to get several types of tumors.

"Even if you don't believe the research, if there is any doubt in your mind that 15 years down the line my daughter is going to have cancer from this — please any one of our kids," parent Alexandria Cotner said.

Cost ended the meeting before getting to the question and answer portion.

"I ask that you leave peacefully," she said to the crowd.

Wyandotte police were eventually called and parents and members of the media were told to leave.

"I am ready to file a lawsuit," Castmore said.

Parents were encouraged to write questions on cue cards and leave them for review.

"If you have more, please put them on the table," Cost said.

Parents did not take kindly to being turned away with no answers.

"Answer them now, answer our questions," a group from the crowd yelled.

7 Action News was asked to leave the room before we could ask if they had plans to hold another meeting.

Parents have requested the lease agreement and say they are prepared to file a lawsuit if the project isn't put on pause.