Be informed and make a difference!  „State Rep. Karla Drenner, D-Avondale Estates, will introduce legislation banning construction of the towers near schools because of concerns about radiation safety.

WHAT: Hearing on Proposal to Ban Cellphone Towers on School Properties
WHEN: 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 21  (conveniently scheduled so you may attend during your lunch hour)
WHERE: Room 415 of the Coverdell Legislative Office Building, across the street from the Georgia State Capitol.

GET THE CELL OUT – Atlanta (GTCO-ATL) is sending notices to all petition signers, Facebook followers and the district, state and national PTAs. Please inform as many supporters for this action as possible so that we can prevent any cell towers from going up at any school in our county. The children of DeKalb are counting on us to do the right thing!

Please plan to attend this critical hearing.  Please tell everyone possible who can attend that their support for this legislation is very important!

Georgia is the first state (and DeKalb is the first county) to consider legislation since the upgrade of cell phone and cell tower radiation to “Possible Human Carcinogen” by the World Health Organization (WHO).  The legislation will likely impact how other school districts and states respond when approached by cellular carriers in the future.  All eyes are on DeKalb and Georgia to “do the right thing.”  It will take the united agreement across all parts of our county, all political parties, to work together to create and pass a law that will protect all our children.

The impact is long-reaching.  The 30-year contract between DeKalb County School System (DCSS) and T-Mobile means this decision affects not just our children, but also children who are yet to be born.  For some, it could impact our unborn grandchildren.  This is an historic decision and a great opportunity for the citizens of our county to stand up for ourselves and bring about a positive outcome.  If we can accomplish this together, just think of the impact we can have by working together to set our educational system back on the right track.

All eyes are on us.  Please call your state legislator, sign the petition, show up on Tuesday, February 21 and support DeKalb’s schools, parents and taxpayers in their determination to prevail and protect our children.  It isn’t just about one school or one community – it is about all of us.

    • For more information, find the AJC article on this topic at:

    • Sign the “No Cell Towers in DeKalb” petition here:

    • For more info on cell towers in DeKalb, visit:

About dekalbschoolwatch

Hosting a dialogue among parents, educators and community members focused on improving our schools and providing a quality, equitable education for each of our nearly 100,000 students. ~ "ipsa scientia potestas est" ~ "Knowledge itself is power"
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  1. GTCO-ATL says:

    Thank you School Watch Blog for calling attention to this important issue. We also saw that the school contracts are posted in the files section of your site. We obtained the leases from Walter Woods per an Open Records Request. He did not explain why two contracts were not available: Lakeside HS and Narvie J. Harris Elementary School. So, 7 of the 9 are available for review.

  2. Isn’t this legislation a bit late? If this new legislation passed, could it still be used to prevent the building of the towers, that already have signed contracts? How about the schols where construction is already underway? The way Womack pushed this through sneakily, when Bowen was out of town, was awful. This whole thing is a mess thanks to Womack.

    When will there be a conversation about education in DeKalb? Our schools are failing, the system is reeling from racial politics and let’s not forget that friends and family plan that has helped steer funds away from the classrooms and into the pockets of the well connected attorneys, contractors, friends, family, sorority sisters and fraternity brothers. It’s time we DEMAND our BOE to become more transparent in their operations, they work for us! Don’t they?

  3. dekalbschoolwatch says:

    We have posted the available contracts sent to us from citizens who made an Open Records Request and paid from their own pockets for these public documents (thank you!). Lakeside and Narvie Harris are missing, but the rest are available for citizens to review. Click the FACTS & SOURCES tab and pull down to FILES. You will see the contracts listed and can download the PDFs from there.

  4. Susan says:

    Has anyone decided to contact T-Mobile to ask them to do the right thing and withdraw from this contract. People should cancel T-Mobile. If T-Mobile thinks that this deal with Dekalb is toxic not just for the community but for their business they will try to get out of it. If the school board will not take the high road perhap a corporation might – stranger things have been known to happen.

  5. Susan I wish T-Mobile would do the right thing. However, with the contracts signed I don’t think there is much recourse. I’d love to hear a legal perspective on whether the legislation being discussed, to ban towers from schools, is too late or can be retroactive and void the signed contracts with T-Mobile?

  6. The Deal says:

    I attended today’s hearing, and the legislation Drenner is proposing would have no effect on the current DeKalb/T-Mobile towers. Because contracts are already signed, it would be unconstututional for her legislation to have any effect on what is currently going on in DeKalb. Also, her legislation is not a complete ban; it legislates placement of towers, not a ban on all towers.

    The bottom line is that 100% of this mess falls on DeKalb’s board of education. Rep. Carter is attempting to write legislation that will affect the zoning of the towers, but it is also unlikely that it will affect the towers that are in progress.

  7. Thanks for going to the meeting, The Deal. I was correct in thinking there would be NO retroactive law. I think the only thing we can do at this point is boycott T-Mobile or sue someone. The entire BOE is not at fault. The one person whose fault it is is Mr. Womack. Womack chaired a BOE meeting, when Tom Bowen was out of town, he placed it on the agenda and then rammed it through. He was obviously trying to avoid questions and gave the true stakeholders no time to react. These cell towers are the fault of Womack . He did someone a major favor. I think it’s time for us to get the transcripts from that BOE meeting and/or the video and get it online, so we can see exactly what happened back then.

    Should the grand jury investigate to see if any BOE member was promised something in return for a yes vote? I’m just saying…..

  8. The Deal says:

    I agree with complete boycott of T-Mobile, but I disagree about the BOE. They did vote to approve it. Womack started it, but the rest of the board could have squashed it by not voting for it. They have made a complete mess, so much so that hopefully some legislation will be passed that will limit future actions.

  9. You’re right Deal, I’m going to go back and see how the vote shook out. I don’t think it was unanimous. This should have been deferred until the full BOE was sitting at the Palace table.

  10. I went back to the notes from that awful meeting on July 11th, in the dead of summer, that Womack chaired in Bowen’s absence. Edler tried her hardest to get all the towers out of the plan. She even said, “DCSS should not be in the business of providing cell or internet service to the community.” The final vote was 6-2 with Edler and Jester dissenting.

    Mr Womack, your short notice adding this vote to the agenda on Friday, July 8th, a holiday week no less and lack of details proved this was his plan all along to get this passed when no one was really watching. How many times during the reign of Clew and Company did they try to pass things during the Summer. Cere could not even count the times on her own two hands.

  11. dekalbschoolwatch says:

    Here is the link to the post on that meeting from the old blog:

  12. The Deal: “Womack started it, but the rest of the board could have squashed it by not voting for it.” They tried…

    If you go back and watch the video from that meeting, you will hear Edler start to ask for an ammendment to remove all schools and then she is corrected because it is mentioned that some schools actually want the towers. She then made her ammendment to remove all schools except Lakeside and Briarlake (the schools that are in Womack’s neighborhood). Then Cunningham and Walker chime in about how there is a need for the towers in “rural DeKalb” where they have lots of property and the people want the towers for the wireless and for the money it will bring. Copelin-Woods agreed. They voted on the ammendment and it failed. Womack tried to move on to the next agenda item, but they actually had not voted on the reamining 9 schools yet.

    Then, Pam Speaks spoke up to ask an important question, “What if there are other schools out there who might have similar objections to the three that were removed (by McChesney’s ammendment at the beginning of the meeting with passed 7 – 1 – 1 with Edler against and Bowen absent) – is there any mechanism by which they can object later on or let the board know how they feel?” Speaks stated that “some people” might say that just because you haven’t heard from a community doen’st mean they don’t care. Applause in the audience was scolded by Womack. SO, then, Ramona Tyson (Interim Super at the time) stated that the only option would be to remove the item from the agenda to give those schools more time to respond (which they should have done).

    With that, Womack spoke up by asking about a due diligence period. Steve Donahue returned to the mike to state that T-mobile has a 6 month due diligence period by which they must apply for their permits, etc. There would be a chance to voice objections at that time. This appeared to answer the questions, so the board voted on the action under the FALSE ASSUMPTION that was pushed forward by Womack and Donahue that there would be a standard permit process that allows for public notification and public input. We all now know that this is not how things shook out. The permit is being done by “special Admin” process that is normally for temporary structures, not 30 year deals, and it does not allow public input or require notice be sent out. Tyson also commented that the next business day they would “affix the signature” to the contacts and it would be a done deal. T-mobile was noted on campus at Briarlake in September 2011 and Margaret Harris in November 2011, but the only contracts released under Open Records are signed by Atkinson in December. So, there were a lot of people misleading one another that evening.

    Watch this video of the school board vote:

    * 1. Copy and paste this link into your browser:
    2. Scroll down until you locate Work Session and Business Meeting(11 Jul 2011)
    3. Click the link and wait for the video to load.
    4. Skip ahead more than 3/4th of the way through to 2:42:38 in the video.

    And, don’t forget all of this was planned for the June “consent” agenda – meaning no discussion needed, the decision was already made. It was pulled at the last moment after parents showed up with a petition from Brockett.

    And, Bowen gave a statement on the 11 p.m. news the night before to WSB-TV reporter George Howell. Did he skip town the next morning? In September 2011, Womack tried to calm some irate neighbors by explaining that they did the deal for the coverage, not the money. The community isn’t buying it:

  13. Get the Cell Out,
    This is where I feel the employees and school board are liable for misinformation.
    Decisions are made by receiving FALSE information from school employees?
    Our communities are negatively impacted by false information?
    Does someone telling us, “I didn’t know it wasn’t true?” make it any better?

    Womack knew damn well that there was NOT a due diligence period and it seems the former principal turned department executive director of “Plant Services” was a partner in this misinformation!

    Nancy Jester calls this a form of Educational Malpractice!
    Lawyers and Doctors get sued for wrongdoing!
    Why aren’t school administrators held to the same accountability?

    These wrongdoings will continue FOREVER if there is NO accountability for their actions!

  14. no time for this b.s. says:

    We have to wonder what responsibility the board members have to make sure that the questions they ask are answered truthfully and, if they find out later that the answer they received was wrong and that would have changed their vote, shouldn’t they be obligated to come forward and ask for a re-vote?

Comments are closed.