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A brief reprieve for drenching in Axe

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Some people still stink in the Brandon School Division.

But time is running out for those people, generally considered to be primarily younger teenaged boys, who swim in a pool of Axe products before going to school.

BSD’s scent-free policy has been delayed this fall, school board chair Mark Sefton told me, because the board has been bogged down with personnel vacancies and other pressing policy decisions.

"We’ve pushed back full implementation to September" from Jan. 1, 2014, because there hasn’t been enough time for consultation, Sefton said.

While not entirely aimed at Axe users — or, more properly, abusers — the policy aims at anyone in a school using scented products which cause chemical or allergic reactions, or just plain annoyance and irritation, for other students and staff.

"There’s a surprising number of 15-year-old boys who support the idea," Sefton said. "It interferes with their learning and concentration. They sit in a small stuffy classroom with people who have overscented themselves."

Sefton received one anonymous email from someone accusing trustees of banning students from using soap and shampoo on a daily basis.

No such thing, said Sefton.

As for non-anonymous comments, "There hasn’t been any pushback at all."

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About Nick Martin

Nick Martin is the old bearded guy at the back of the newsroom, the most experienced reporter at the Winnipeg Free Press, having started his career in Ontario in 1971.

He’s been covering education for the Free Press since the spring of 1997, after decades primarily covering municipal politics, including a four-year stint at the Ontario legislature for the London Free Press.

Nick moved to Manitoba in 1988 with his Winnipeg-born wife, who is a professor at the University of Manitoba. They have two kids, both of whom graduated from Grant Park High School: son Chris and daughter Gillian.

Nick has won a national journalism award from the Canadian Association of University Teachers, two Manitoba Human Rights Journalism awards, and the Ontario Reporters Association investigative award.

Nick is a long-distance runner, having finished and survived 18 marathons and 15 half-marathons and 30-kilometre races, and having (barely) survived 10 years as an outdoor and indoor soccer coach.

Nick became a soccer referee in 2007, delighting in his 60s in outrunning 16-year-olds and keeping his distance from obstreperous coaches and parents.

Nick and his wife have discovered a mutual love for kayaking at their Whiteshell cottage, and are both regulars at the Reh-Fit Centre. They hold season tickets to both the Manitoba Theatre Centre and the Warehouse, and as empty nesters, have rediscovered the joys of an active winter vacation.

A native of Jarrow-on-Tyne, England, Nick is a member of the Toon Army as a Newcastle United supporter, and a proud citizen of Leafs Nation.

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