Hoverboards are Banned from Milton
by Desi DeVaul on Friday, November 18th, 2016
Last year hoverboards became a nation wide craze. The title “hoverboard” was slightly misleading since these devices are actually more aptly described as self balancing scooters, but nonetheless, “hoverboard” has been the name that stuck.
According to an August 2016 Mashable article, social media popularized and brought hoverboards into the public eye. The most notable platform that promoted these hoverboards was Vine, an app that allows users to share 6 second videos. Many of Vine’s users in addition to mainstream celebrities including Justin Bieber, Wiz Khalifa, Mike Tyson and others promoted hoverboards on their accounts.
A similar uptake in mainstream interest occurred with drones over the past two years. Drones are remote controlled aircrafts that, according to a March 2016 Popular Science article, have taken off in record numbers this past year. This year, over 400,000 recreational drone enthusiasts registered their drones with the Federal Aviation Administration according to the FAA. In fact, the market has grown so much that the FAA predicts there will be 7 million drones in the skies by 2020. A Market Watch article from March 25th this year states that sales of drones have increased by 224% over the past two years.
Drones and hoverboards have more in common than their popularity increase in the past year: both devices were banned from Milton Academy’s campus last year. However, this change has seemed to have gone mostly unnoticed, with very few of the students aware of the ban’s existence.
Those who disapprove of hoverboards being banned include Vicker DiGravio (III) who, when asked his opinion of the issue, said that “the school can’t just not let us ride hoverboards if the hoverboards aren’t being disruptive.” Students who agree with Vicker believe they should be allowed to ride hoverboards since they do not directly impact anyone else. However, while some lament the ban, the other side of the aisle view the ban as a precautionary measure.
While not present at the meeting in which hoverboards were banned, Ms. Bonenfant believes that “safety was one of the main concerns” for why hoverboards were banned. Meanwhile, when asked about how he felt about Milton’s decision to ban hoverboards, Mr. Fitzpatrick, head athletic trainer, believes “given the media coverage with batteries catching on fire it was the right decision, and based on [his] line of work they seem like the present a high risk for injuries.” He’s right on both accounts. A July 2016 NPR article reports that over 500,000 hoverboards have been recalled the past year due to concern of the hoverboards catching on fire. Hoverboards also provide the potential for injuring the rider. A CNN December 2016 article reports that seventy people went to the emergency room after falling off hoverboards just in the days after last Christmas.
While drones may not have had the same die-hard advocates, their loss will be felt on campus. Serena Fernandopulle (III) mourns the fact that “science and engineering club can’t use drones anymore.” However, unlike hoverboards, drones were not banned by Milton’s administration, but rather by a government organization.
According to Mr. Crissman, middle school principal, the Federal Aviation Administration has instituted new policies to keep the skies safe for planes. Since Milton’s airspace has planes travelling through as they come to and from Logan Airport, drones had to be banned in order to limit potentially dangerous outcomes.
This concern for plane safety is also founded in researched studies. Namely, a study released in December of 2015 by Bard University states that there were 327 “Close Encounters” between drones and airplanes in 2014 and 2015 alone. Close Encounters are defined by the report as being “where a drone comes within 500 feet of a manned aircraft.” Such an encounter would, of course, be potentially hazardous for the plane and all those on board.
Although hoverboards and drones have accrued massive popularity in the public eye over the past year, Milton remains firm on what its students can and cannot do. This ban of drones and hoverboards seems in line with new measures Milton is taking to ensure safety for its students. One measure the school is taking, as reported by Emily Jiang (I) in her article in the Measure this past September, is to reinforce its policies regarding when students can and cannot leave campus during the day. Sadly for drone and hoverboard enthusiasts alike, Milton’s administration remains firm on the ban of activities which could compromise student safety.
Short URL: http://miltonmeasure.org/?p=8490