The Brandon School Division is now one step closer to implementing a division-wide scent and fragrance-free policy.
School board trustees gave notice at Monday’s meeting that the policy will be introduced as a motion at their next regular meeting on Sept. 9.
“It’s just a policy statement, the procedures are still to come,” school board chair Mark Sefton said. “We still need to develop the procedures and have some consultations with students and parents so we’re still a short distance away from having implementation.”
Introducing the policy statement is just a way of notifying people “that this is on our radar,” he said. “The whole idea is awareness of scents and how they affect other people,” he added. “This is a concern … it goes back to the learning environment for students.”
Board members are hoping to start the implementation process in either January or February, Sefton said.
“There would be an education period in there and then there would be full implementation in perhaps March or perhaps September,” he said. “With any policy like that, you need to have time to be able to say to people, ‘you know, that cologne you’re wearing is a little overwhelming.’ You don’t want to just bring the hammer down immediately. You need to educate people.”
After receiving complaints from staff, the school board started looking into developing a division-wide policy that would require people to refrain from using perfume, cologne and other fragrances in schools, the Sun reported in November 2012.
The idea behind the policy came from a health and safety committee made up of teachers and support staff as well as an education committee.
“If a student is having trouble breathing because a student beside them took a bath in that special cologne, we want to make sure the student is in a better spot,” Sefton said.
Some reported reactions from scents and fragrances have also shown some of the more serious side-effects.
Earlier this year, The Associated Press ran a story about a high school student in Pennsylvania who had to be rushed to the hospital after being exposed to Axe body spray. It wasn’t known what specific chemical in the spray caused the severe allergic reaction, but the school went so far as to put out a request to students to stop soaking themselves in the spray.
In 2008, a 12-year-old boy from England died in hospital less than a week after collapsing at his home as a result of spraying a heavy dosage of body spray in a small bathroom. According to the coroner’s report, the boy suffered cardiac arrest arrhythmia and died from heart failure.
» email@example.com, with files from the Winnipeg Free Press
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition August 27, 2013