Plans to finalize the Brandon School Division’s scent and fragrance-free policy could still be months away.
Supt. Donna Michaels said the division is currently working on organizing a consultation meeting, which they hope to hold sometime in either June or September.
Under the division’s consultation policy, the board is required to consult with communities before making revisions, Michaels said, adding it’s the current board’s goal to make final changes to the policy before trustee elections on Oct. 22.
"I think there will be a community meeting called, there may be several," Michaels said, although no date has been set yet. "This is the current board’s work and the current board doesn’t want to leave work for the next board."
The scent policy currently recognizes that certain scents can cause allergic reactions and aggravate health conditions for students and staff. Although trustees voted unanimously in favour of the policy in September 2013, they have yet to iron out all of the details.
A push to further clarify conditions surrounding the scent policy was made after Stephen Bunn, a Grade 11 student at Crocus Plains high school, was asked by school administrators to stop smudging before school because it violates policy.
Michaels said there’s nothing specifically holding up plans to develop the policy’s outlines, which were originally supposed to be presented to board trustees for approval sometime this month.
"There’s just a lot of work this time of year," she said. "The board has to wrap up a number of things it has on its plate."
School board chair Mark Sefton said the current board would like to iron out details surrounding the scent policy as well as its social media policy before new board members are elected.
"They are important parts of the big picture and it’s really important we try to get those things settled before the election," Sefton said. "We don’t want to turn this over to another group of trustees to start over again."
Another thing the division will have to consider while revising its scent policy is the use of electronic cigarettes.
The Globe and Mail reported earlier this month that two school boards in Edmonton have banned the use of electronic cigarettes on school property over concerns some students could use the devices to smoke marijuana.
E-cigarettes use a battery to heat and vaporize the oil in them. But they also mask the smell of pot and are beginning to grow in popularity among teens.
Michaels said that although no issues regarding the smoking devices in any Brandon schools have been brought to her attention just yet, they "would definitely fall in with school policy."
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