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1007.1 Use of Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS), also known as Drones, on School Grounds

The Spirit Lake Community School District is committed to providing a safe and orderly environment for staff, students, and visitors to the school district. With that commitment in mind, this policy sets expectations for use of drones (UAS) that might impact the delivery of education and impact district resources.

Use of Drones on Spirit Lake school grounds is prohibited without prior approval. Prior approval must be requested in writing and may be approved by the superintendent or the superintendent’s designee. The Superintendent or superintendent’s designee shall determine whether the request is appropriate and safe. This approval is granted on a case-by-case basis and the superintendent’s decision is final. The following conditions must be met for approval:


Written request for drone operation must occur in advance (at least 48 hours or 2 days) prior to planned use. Drone operation requires registration with the FAA, including certification of authorization, or the necessary 333 exemption, as issued by the FAA when required by law. If the area over which the drone is anticipated to fly is within five nautical miles of an airport, the UAS operator shall provide a letter of agreement that the airport has authorized permission to operate within the territory of the five miles.


A signed agreement holding the Spirit Lake Community School District harmless from any claims of harm to individuals or damage to property and proof of insurance with liability limits of not less than $1 million that identifies the Spirit Lake Community School District as additionally insured inclusive of, but not limited to, primary/non- contributory and waiver of subrogation language supporting an endorsed additional insured status.


The drone must remain in line of sight at all times during operations. The operator is prohibited from flying the UAS over playing surfaces, seating and spectator areas where and when people are present, or parking areas where and when people and vehicles are present.


UAS controllers and their employees are responsible for ensuring operators are trained in the use of the drone they operate. Operators must be aware of the risks that include, but are not limited to, personal injury and property damage cause by the UAS as a result of weather, operator error or judgment, or failure of device systems and equipment. UAS controllers and their employees must complete the aeronautical knowledge test required to obtain the remote pilot certificate per FAA regulations.


The UAS controllers must avoid areas reasonably considered private in accordance with social norms, including but not limited to, restrooms, locker rooms, individual residences and health treatment rooms. In addition, no recording or transmittal of visual images of students shall occur, without express written parental permission. The UAS operator must respect FERPA student privacy rights.


The district will follow any Iowa High School Athletic Association rules regarding drone use during IHSSA regulated events, as required.


Video recorded during the use of Drones for district purposes shall remain the exclusive property of the district.

The Superintendent, or Superintendent’s designee, shall refuse admission to or demand removal of any individual or group attempting or intending to use a drone without authorization. The Superintendent, or designee, may suspend play of athletic or other competitions, if necessary, pending removal of the unauthorized individual and drone from prohibited areas. Flying of a drone in a reckless manner is a violation of Federal laws and FAA regulations and could result in civil fines or criminal action. The Superintendent, or superintendent’s designee, may report such activity that endangers other aircraft, people on the ground, or district property, to local law enforcement.

Drone Authorization Checklist:

_______ FAA approval with proof of registration or necessary 333 Exemption and letter from airport authorizing flight within the five nautical miles of the airport, if applicable.

_______ Superintendent (or Superintendent Designee) approval

_______ Signed agreement that the district is held harmless for any injury to individuals or damage of property

_______ Proof of insurance as required by this policy

_______ Statement that the operators are trained in the use of the drone

_______ Signed agreement that video is the exclusive property of the district per agreement with the operator if operating the drone on behalf of the district.


Approved: 12/12/16

Reviewed: 4/8/19