Manchester Schools Sets Drone Policy

(Photo by Judy Smestad-Nunn)

MANCHESTER – As unmanned aircraft systems become more popular with hobbyists and with businesses, school districts are creating policies to govern their use.

The New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association has approved the use of drones at athletic events, Superintendent David Trethaway said. Therefore, districts have to determine how they want them used.

Drones present a privacy issue, he said, but also an insurance one. If a drone falls out of the sky and hits someone, the district could be liable.

The new policy prohibits the flying of unmanned aircraft on school grounds, however, there are exceptions. A contractor can apply to the board to get an approval as long as they provide documentation, compliance with the Federal Aviation Administration, proof of insurance, and other details.

A district employee will be allowed to use drones for science classes, Trethaway said. Additionally, a facilities employee can use one to scope out a building’s roof without having to climb on it.

If a student is using one for a school project, they must be supervised by a staff member.