By GAIL OBER, LACONIA DAILY SUN
CANTERBURY — Drones may be on the horizon for the Shaker Regional School District if a policy allowing their use passes next week.
The policy, as proposed and passed during a first reading last week, will allow authorized personnel to use them on school property for education purposes or as allowed by the building principal.
Board members chose to create a special drone policy after student Devin Poslusny asked them for permission last month to use his drone to record sports teams' practices and other student events on school property.
Shaker Regional doesn't have any policy concerning drones, however the New Hampshire Interscholastic Athletic Association prohibits all drone use at any sanctioned sports event.
When Poslusny made his request, the board chose to have the policy committee do some research and, if possible, create a policy that would protect student and staff from bullying, insure their physical well-being and still allow for drone use.
While the proposed policy would apply to Poslusny, it also applies to any other students or staff who would want to use them in the future.
Specifically, the policy requires that written permission for each separate use be granted and permission can be immediately withdrawn if bullying is suspected. Permission must be requested at least 10 days in advance.
The drone itself must "return to base" automatically if there are high winds or if the battery begins to fail and not weigh more than 55 pounds. It must be registered with the FAA, be operated within the line of sight of the operator, and fly at an altitude of less than 400 feet.
Propeller guards must be used when a drone is flown over people on the ground.
Should a person who is not affiliated with the Shaker Regional School District want permission to fly a drone, he or she will need personal liability insurance that names the school district as an additional insured.
Footnotes indicate the policy committee members drew on FAA memorandums, their own internal policies on pupil safety and bullying and the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012.
Requests will be granted on a case-by-case basis and there can be no commercial benefit to the operator.
The policy will come before the school board for a second reading on June 28. The board meets a Canterbury Elementary School at 6 p.m.
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