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We all know that an $\ce{NO2}$ group attached to a benzene is a deactivator, and it directs and substituents that would be adding to the meta position to the $\ce{NO2}$. For an alkyl group attached to a benzene it is an activator, and it directs to the positions ortho/para to the alkyl group.

I haven't found any information on how a $\ce{-CH2-OH}$ group would affect the reactivity of the benzene ring shown below

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According to Hansch, Leo, and Hoekman (Exploring QSAR: Hydrophobic, Electronic and Steric Constants 1995) the Hammet sigma value for $-CH_2-OH$ is 0 (zero) in both either the meta or para position. Positive values indicate deactivators or electron withdrawing (+.778 for nitro in para position) and negative values are activators or electron donating (-0.268 for methoxy group). The Hammett relationship gives a way to compare electronic effects of substituents on a benzene ring. Further info on Wikipedia.

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