Students in Brandon, Man., could be asked to cut back on body spray
Published Monday, September 9, 2013 7:23PM EDT
Last Updated Monday, September 9, 2013 11:20PM EDT
School officials in Brandon, Man., have taken a step towards limiting the use of scented products, after getting complaints that some students are wearing too much perfume or cologne.
Trustees voted Monday to move forward with a policy motion to tackle the issue.
Brandon School Division chair Mark Sefton said that parents and students have expressed concern that the overuse of scented products is preventing some people from concentrating, which has created learning barriers in the classroom.
“If you walk through the cloud and all of a sudden it’s ‘where did all the oxygen go,’ it means that the scenting is getting in the way of students learning,” Sefton told CTV Winnipeg.
He said it’s now the responsibility of the school division to step in and make changes.
“It’s our job I believe to take steps to make sure that that doesn’t get in their way.”
The proposed policy, however, isn’t going over well with some students, who say body sprays are sometimes a necessity.
“If you have really bad body odour, that’s kind of a key thing to wear,” one student said.
However, curbing the use of popular body sprays like Axe -- which is marketed to teenage boys -- may prove to be difficult.
“Do it like the Axe commercial: one there, one there, one in the middle,” said Ty Ringrose, a student in Brandon while mimicking one of the actors in the popular commercials. “It’s not bad.”
But according to the Manitoba Lung Association, scented products can be harmful to individuals suffering from lung disease.
“One in four people are suffering from some sort of lung disease and so they’re very sensitive to strong scents, strong smells,” said Sheila McIntosh, the organization’s director of health initiatives.
In response to the proposed policy, Axe Body Sprays issued a statement, saying they recognized that some people are adversely affected by scented products.
“The issue of scents and a person’s odour is extremely subjective and virtually impossible to enforce. Many products contain fragrance and it is important for everyone to exercise care around those with sensitivities,” Sara Docent, a spokesperson with Axe Body Sprays, said in a statement.
Docent, however, did not say whether or not Axe believes the proposed policy is a good one, saying that “a matter like this is best left to school administrators and parents to decide.”
Earlier on Monday, Sefton told popular Saskatoon radio personality John Gormley that the school division wants to strike a balanced approach in this proposed policy.
Sefton acknowledged there’s always going to be some type of background scent in the classroom, but when smells cross over “the one-meter radius buffer zone that we all have around us,” it affects other people.
If the proposal is passed, Sefton said it will likely come into effect in January 2014. He said both parents and students will be consulted on how to best implement the policy.
Some students, however, are questioning how effective the proposed policy will be.
“I think it’s pretty pointless because even if they do do it, everyone is just going to wear it anyway,” said one student.
“What are they going to do? Smell every person and see if they’re wearing body sprays or not?”
With files from CTV Winnipeg