Lake Washington School District (LWSD) recently reached an agreement with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) on a new three-year contract.
Use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems on District Property
Unmanned Aircraft Systems are defined as any aircraft and its associated elements operated with no human operator on board, and capable of flight by means of remote control or autonomous programming.
Lake Washington School District recognizes the benefit of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (unmanned aircraft) use within the district. The district is responsible for the stewardship, operation and maintenance of all of its district and school campuses. The unapproved use or possession of an unmanned aircraft system or model aircraft on district property, or at a district-sponsored event is prohibited. This means that individuals and entities shall not, at any time, without prior district approval, use or possess an unmanned aircraft system/model aircraft on, in, above, or upon any district property or district events, including those owned, leased, maintained or used by the district. Unmanned aircraft use is regulated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
The district places restrictions on the use of unmanned aircraft for commercial and hobby or recreational purposes, including student use for educational purposes, on district property and adheres to FAA laws and guidance governing their use.
Commercial Use of Unmanned Aircraft on or above District Property
Any commercial use of unmanned aircraft on district property is prohibited unless pre-approval has been requested and granted by authorized district personnel for official district business. Commercial use of unmanned aircraft must follow all FAA regulations, including remote pilot certificate with a small UAS rating, and have appropriate liability insurance. Proof of a Certificate of Liability Insurance for a minimum of $1,000,000 will be necessary which names the district as an additional insured.
Recreational Use of Unmanned Aircraft Operated as Model Aircraft
With prior district authorization, a person may operate an unmanned aircraft as a “model aircraft” if the model aircraft operation is flown for hobby or recreational purposes in accordance with section 336 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 (FMRA) at educational institutions and community-sponsored events provided that person is (1) not compensated, or (2) any compensation received is neither directly nor incidentally related to that person’s operation of the aircraft at such events. Proof of a Certificate of Liability Insurance for a minimum of $1,000,000 will be necessary which names the district as an additional insured. Examples of recreational use of unmanned aircraft include but are not limited to; demonstrations of unmanned aircraft use, demonstration of unmanned aircraft to further student interest in aviation or use by a parent/community volunteer to film an outdoor school event.
A model aircraft means an unmanned aircraft that is:
- Flown strictly for hobby or recreational use;
- Operated in accordance with a community-based set of safety guidelines and within the programming of a nationwide community-based organization;
- Flown within visual line of sight of the person operating the aircraft;
- Capable of sustained flight in the atmosphere;
- Flown below 400 feet and remain clear of surrounding obstacles;
- To remain clear of and do not interfere with manned aircraft operations;
- Not flown within five (5) miles of an airport unless the airport and control tower have been notified in advance;
- Not flown above or near people or stadiums; and
- Not greater than 55 pounds (including “payload”).
Any individual or entity wishing to use or possess an unmanned aircraft or model aircraft on district property or at a district-sponsored event must receive pre-approval. Individuals and entities must seek pre-approval by the district’s Risk and Safety Department. Any individual or entity receiving pre-approval must abide by district policies and procedures, any special restriction put in place by the person granting pre-approval, and the laws set forth in the FAA Modernization Reformed Act of 2012, rule of Part 107, and any laws adopted by state and local authorities.
If an unmanned aircraft is operated as a model aircraft in accordance with the above, then it is does not require FAA authorization.
Video or still images derived from an onboard camera of the unmanned aircraft shall be considered district property. Such video or still images will be subject to applicable district policy pertaining to review and retention of data.
Staff Use of Unmanned Aircraft as a Component of Course Curriculum
Staff that use unmanned aircraft as a component of the course curriculum are to comply with FAA laws and guidance for use of unmanned aircraft for educational purposes. Staff are not allowed to operate unmanned aircraft as part of their professional responsibilities, however, staff may assist students operating model aircraft for the course to ensure safety, regain control of the aircraft, or to prevent a crash.
Student Use of Unmanned Aircraft for Educational Purposes
Student use of unmanned aircraft as component of their science, technology and aviation¬ related educational curricula, or other coursework such as television and film production or the arts, is considered “hobby or recreational use.” Students are responsible for meeting and complying with all elements required for lawful model aircraft, including training and eye protection. Use of an unmanned aircraft by a student, on or above school grounds, must be accompanied with appropriate teacher or staff supervision.
Staff participation in the student’s learning experience is an integral component of the student’s educational experience, and faculty are authorized to participate in and contribute to the unmanned aircraft activities in which students can engage as hobbyists. Staff teaching courses which use unmanned aircraft as a component of the curriculum may assist students who are operating a model aircraft operation in connection with a course that requires such operations, provided the student maintains operational control of the model aircraft such that the staff member’s manipulation of the model aircraft’s controls is incidental and secondary to the student’s (e.g., the faculty member steps-in to regain control in the event the student begins to lose control).
Students that violate the terms of this policy are subject to disciplinary action as outlined in the student code of conduct.
The above policy and rules do not restrict drone use by emergency first responders to incidents such as building fires, immediate criminal and health threats and hazardous material releases.
Legal Reference: FAA Modernization Reform Act of 2012