A slogan can do a business a lot of good. A catchy slogan stays in the minds of customers and can produce big business.

Perhaps, AT&T can brush off one of its most recent slogans and “Rethink Possible” in its fight to build a cell tower near an Ezzell school.

Judge Jessica Richard Crawford heard testimony last week in his Lavaca County 25th District Court courtroom from both the Ezzell school district and AT&T.

School officials believe that the tower is being built too close to the school, less than 350 feet away. AT&T, however, secured a lease on private property to build the tower.

Located south of Hallettsville, the district has requested a temporary injunction to force the unfinished AT&T cell tower to move to another location. It was granted a temporary restraining order in May that stopped work on the project.

The judge’s ruling can come at any time.

If the judge grants AT&T the right to continue with the project, we believe the company should be a good community partner and rethink the possible. It could move the tower to a different part of the private party, farther away from the school and all of its concerns. More than 200 parents and community members signed a petition to have the tower moved.

Here are key concerns the district talked about:

  • Potential health risks from the tower, including possible carcinogenic factors produced by electromagnetic fields.
  • Parents may pull their students out of the small, rural school district. The number of students who are already transfer students, 38, could choose to go to school elsewhere. That could have a catastrophic ripple effect on the district, including athletics and school funding.

Officials representing AT&T noted that there are no studies showing any effects of a tower built by a school. They also quashed concerns about how a tower would hold during a severe weather event like a hurricane.

School officials complained AT&T did not talk to them ahead of time about building the tower right across its property line. The company, relied, as it should, on a public notice printed in a local newspaper to get the word out.

Nonetheless, more upfront communication might have helped immensely in this situation.

Property rights and what people and businesses do on their own land are a huge deal for Texans, as it should be. Individuals and companies have a right to use their property as they see fit, in most cases.

That’s why we encourage AT&T to take a step back and rethink its strategy. Going forward with this project could have a disastrous effect on a small-town school that it might never recover from. AT&T should want to be a good corporate partner with the community.

This opinion reflects

the views of the Victoria

Advocate’s editorial board.

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