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Brecksville-Broadview Heights schools to create policies on drones, crowdfunding

BRECKSVILLE, Ohio – The Brecksville-Broadview Heights schools may create policies to address two modern-day developments – drones and crowdfunding.

Schools Superintendent Joelle Magyar said a handful of Brecksville-Broadview Heights High School pupils want to form a drone club, where they would learn about drones and how to fly them. A staff adviser would supervise.

Meanwhile, teachers are increasingly using crowdfunding to raise money for various causes. The practice can raise ethical concerns, Magyar said, and the district has no policy to dictate who can contribute and how much.

On Monday night, the school board asked Magyar and her administration to prepare draft policies for both drones and crowdfunding. The board may review the drafts at its next meeting.

Day of the drone

Last year, Broadview Heights City Council considered passing an ordinance that would have regulated the use of unmanned aircraft, commonly called drones, within municipal borders. The Federal Aviation Administration already regulates drones but allows local governments to establish some rules.

Broadview Heights, following Cleveland’s lead, may regulate drones

Other Ohio communities have already enacted drone legislation. In April 2016, Cleveland City Council passed an ordinance that in effect gives Cleveland police authority to enforce FAA regulations. Also, the city of Aurora and village of Cuyahoga Heights have established drone regulations.

Magyar said the city of Broadview Heights initially wanted the schools to help police local drone regulations. She said that would have been too onerous for the district, so the city agreed to leave the schools out of the legislation. Ultimately, the Broadview Heights drone ordinance went nowhere, Magyar said.

Magyar said the high school drone club, if it materializes, would fly drones on and over school property.

Funds from the crowd

Magyar said school policy already addresses crowdfunding by pupils. Crowdfunding involves soliciting money for a project or cause on websites like GoFundMe and Kickstarter. The idea is raise small contributions from many donors.

Policy says pupils need prior superintendent approval before starting a fundraising or crowdfunding campaign, according to Magyar.

However, the policy doesn’t cover crowdfunding by teachers and staff. So far, the district has regulated teacher-staff crowdfunding campaigns on a case-by-case basis.

For example, one teacher is running a marathon to raise money for cancer research. He asked Magyar for permission to set up a crowdfunding account for the cause.

The district decided the teacher can accept donations from school staff but not parents or pupils, due to potential conflicts of interests. Pupils giving to a teacher’s crowdfunding campaign might create the appearance of currying favor from that teacher, especially around grade time.

Another consideration, Magyar said, is that ethics laws prohibit a teacher from accepting gifts worth more than $25.  


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