Diocese Tempts More Flak With Cell Tower Near Second Parochial School

(March 8) With controversy over the San Bernardino Diocese’s move to place a cell tower near Sacred Heart Parochial School in Rancho Cucamonga yet raging, the principal at St. Margaret Mary School in Chino has informed parents that the Diocese has entered into an arrangement to have a cell tower erected near the church school there.
In January 2012, after discussions that had been ongoing between Verizon and the Diocese for several months, the Rancho Cucamonga Planning Commission gave approval to the placement of a cellular phone tower next to the Sacred Heart Parochial School playground. In late November, several parents of students at the school learned of the plans for the yet-to-be-completed tower on the church grounds near the northeast corner of Foothill Blvd. and the I-15 Freeway.
An outpouring of parental concern that the tower’s electrical field could negatively impact the health of their children prompted the church, pastored by Father Benedict Nwachukwu-Udaku, and the Diocese, led by Bishop Gerald Barnes, to relent and agree to instead place the tower at the northern end of the church parking lot, a spot more removed from the playground.
That change, however, did not mollify most of the outraged parents, who have stepped up their efforts, insisting that the church renounce hosting the cellular tower altogether.
The church, the Diocese, Verizon and the city of Rancho Cucamonga insist that the original placement of the tower represented no threat to the students at the school, maintaining the emissions from the tower would be about ten times below the radiation safety threshold set by the Federal Communications Commission. The Diocese maintains it agreed to moving the tower as part of an effort to be responsive to the parents who had vocalized their concerns.
About seventeen miles southwest of Sacred Heart, the Diocese has now apparently committed to erecting another cellular antenna in the bell tower at St. Margaret Mary Church, located at 12664 Central Avenue in Chino.
In an email to parents  dated February 21,  St. Margaret Mary Principal Joan Blank wrote, “I want to inform you that a cell tower is going to be installed in the church steeple.  It will be covered with lattice and not be visible to the school.  The equipment will be installed in the space between the church and the shopping center to the north.”
The church is in close proximity to the school, with the higher grade classrooms, sixth, fifth and fourth, and the library closest to the bell tower. The third, second and first grade classrooms are more removed from the church, as is the school cafeteria and playground.

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