High School Proposes 'Fragrance Control Policy'

ByABC News
March 7, 2006, 2:26 PM

March 7, 2006 — -- No scents may make good sense at a Massachusetts high school.

The Upper Cape Cod Regional Technical School in Bourne, Mass., has reviewed a potential fragrance-control policy that would forbid students and staff from wearing strongly scented perfume.

School superintendent Barry Motta proposed the policy after a few employees and students complained of headaches. Students said their headaches began after "girls sprayed a lot of perfume in class," Motta said.

"Basically, it's educational in making parents and students aware of what the issues [with fragrances] can be. It's creating sensitivity and awareness," said Motta, whose district manages 670 students. "Perfumes can trigger asthma and migraine headaches."

Motta admitted his district has a lot of issues to investigate, including potential enforcement as well as the individual rights of students and staff. So far, he said, he has received an "overwhelmingly favorable" response from parents.

Wanda Miller, executive director of the National Association of School Nurses, said she is not surprised that a school district should have to deal with this kind of issue but said it would be very difficult to enforce such a ban.

"Hair goop, half of the ChapSticks have scents -- we're not just talking about perfume, we are talking about almost any product," Miller said. "It would be extremely difficult for a district to ban a scent and be able to monitor it."

While NASN has no official position monitoring scents, Miller said she has heard of schools banning peanut butter in the school cafeteria if students have peanut allergies.

"There are schools that have individually chosen to restrict things in the buildings, a variety of different things," Miller said.

Motta was not aware of any other schools with a similar fragrance policy but said that a school in Vermont was working on drafting similar guidelines.

"It's so new," he said.