Ferguson responds to middle school’s letter on drones law
By Jenna Oden
The Valley Times-News
When students from Chris McCalla’s technology education class at Long Cane Middle School learned that they couldn’t obtain a drone license until 16-years-old, they wrote Congressman Drew Ferguson a letter.
“The FAA [federal aviation administration] regulations state you have to be 16-years-old to get your drone permit, and middle schoolers aren’t 16,” McCalla said. “And they are like, ‘hey we want to make money too, and it’s kind of unfair.’”
The class wrote letters to Ferguson before leaving for Christmas break, and on Tuesday morning he stopped by LCMS to talk to McCalla’s class.
“I was excited to hear from these kids, and talk to them about something that they’re passionate about, which is an emerging technology of drone usage in the U.S.,” Ferguson said. “So, we wanted to come engage with them and to hear what they had to say. There’s a pretty special group here.”
Ferguson commended the class on their knowledge of drones and also hands-on skills they have physically flying them as well.
“We had a really good conversation today,” Ferguson said.
“[We talked about] some of the pros and cons that changed with changing those laws. They gave me some information, and I hope, I gave them something to think about.”
When speaking to the class Ferguson encouraged them to keep speaking out and talking about the laws of drones and the air, and they have an advantage going further with business, education and more.
“At the end of the day, this is the future,” Ferguson said. “They know a lot about this, and we’re trying to listen to what these young people have to say to help shape future policies.”
McCalla said the class does a heavy focus on the laws and ethics of drone flying, and not just learning skills of the device.
“When you talk about law and ethics with middle schoolers, you can really hear the eyes rolls, but the kids get into it,” McCalla said. “There’s so many open-ended questions that really get them thinking critically about things. This kind of stuff, kids really do enjoy talking about it.”
Ferguson also spent Tuesday visiting other local groups in the community, including the Green Power Racing team at Long Cane Elementary School and he served as the guest speaker at the Republican Women/Republican Party monthly meeting.