The ruling stems from a lawsuit brought forward by many of the parents of children who attend Washington Elementary School in Wyandotte, Michigan. The parents allege that T-Mobile illegally built the tower on top of the school and that the tower poses unknown health risks to the students. (Related: Biden admin earmarks $1.5B for 5G rollout despite public pushback and newfound health risks.)
United States District Court Judge Mark Goldsmith of the Eastern District of Michigan ruled on June 15 to extend an already-existing temporary restraining order that prevents T-Mobile from activating the tower for the first time. The order will remain in effect until June 30.
This is the second time a judge has ruled to ban the tower's activation for 14 days. Previously, a Wayne County Circuit Court judge ordered the first 14-day restraining order against T-Mobile on June 2.
The parents and other members of the community who are fighting against the 5G tower's activation are arguing that the technology being used poses potential health risks to the schoolchildren at Washington Elementary.
"I want people to hear us and know that our staff and our community are not pawns," said Lisa Beck, a parent and one of the plaintiffs. "You can't play with us and our safety."
The lawsuit further argues that T-Mobile duped the local school district and the city engineer of Wyandotte into issuing an illegal building permit and a certificate of occupancy to build the wireless communication facility on top of Washington Elementary.
"I have two little girls who go to Washington Elementary, and when I hear about the levels of RF [radiofrequency] radiation they are going to be exposed to on a daily basis, it is quite shocking," said Josh Castmore, who also serves as one of the attorneys for the plaintiffs and who called the judge's decision a "huge win."
"T-Mobile is refusing to voluntarily agree to keep the tower powered off while the case is pending," he added. "It is requiring us to file a motion and obtain an order to do so."
T-Mobile's decision to construct a 5G cell tower on top of an elementary school stems from a 2018 decision by the then-members of the Wyandotte school board to approve a deal with the telecom giant.
In this deal, T-Mobile pays the district $1,000 a month to operate a cell tower in the space above the school. The Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic delayed construction of the tower. But when the tower was constructed, more attention grew around it.
Parents of children going to Washington Elementary said they were never given the opportunity to voice their opinion on the matter and started organizing to get T-Mobile to back off.
Castmore and his associates now want the case to be brought back before the Wayne County Circuit Court. T-Mobile wants the case to remain at the federal level, where the company may start approaching the suit from a constitutional perspective and argue that federal law preempts any state laws concerning cell tower sites.
If the case does get remanded back to Wayne County, it will go back to Circuit Court Judge Adel Harb, who issued the first restraining order and who may then rule on its status going forward.
"The case does not belong in federal court," said Castmore, who claimed that T-Mobile's decision to move the case to the federal level is a "desperate attempt" to get a different judge to "look at the same set of facts and reach a different decision."
If the suit remains at the federal level, an evidentiary hearing will likely be required before T-Mobile can get the cell tower activated.
"We are confident that we will prevail in this case on the merits of our claims, regardless of the venue. I would feel comfortable arguing this case on the moon if we had to," said Castmore. "Long story short, T-Mobile will not be able to activate the tower for a fairly considerable length of time. Another battle won in what is sure to be a long war."
Learn more about the rollout of 5G in America at 5GAlert.com.
Watch this compilation of news reports showing the Michigan parents protesting the activation of the 5G tower above Washington Elementarty in Wyandotte.