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New school year, no phones: West Island high school bans cellphones

St. Thomas High School bans cellphones on school grounds. .
St. Thomas High School bans cellphones on school grounds. . Sylvain Trudeau/Global News

The new school year came with new rules at St. Thomas High School in Pointe-Claire — no phones allowed on school grounds.

A letter sent to parents on Monday states that all cellphones must be turned off and put away in lockers upon entering the building.

No student is allowed to use a cellphone at any point during the day. This includes before and after classes, during recess and at lunch time.

Students will only be allowed to use their phone after school, once they have left the school grounds.

Earphones are not allowed, either.

READ MORE: New Brunswick has mixed response to adopting cellphone ban in classrooms

Most parents we spoke to are happy with the new policy.

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“I think it’s amazing, fantastic,” said Peter Bakoyannis, whose daughter goes to St. Thomas. “It’s the best thing ever.”

“School is for learning not for cellphones,” said another parent while waiting for their child.

“They don’t need a cellphone in the school. If you have a problem, go to the office to call your parent,” said Tina Wentzell.

Students, on the other hand, have mixed feelings.

“It’s really bad; no one likes it,” said one secondary 5 student. “Everyone hates it, it’s disgusting.”

“I think it’s actually kind of nice because then no one is gonna be distracted, and we can actually make new friends instead of staring at a screen all day,” said a younger student.

Another student said she is happy her school is stepping up. “I know a lot of people aren’t happy about it, but it’s a good change,” she said.

READ MORE: ‘Pretend it’s the 18th century’: Cellphone debate in schools rages on

Students who do not comply will have their phones taken away and will only be able to retrieve them after serving a detention.

At the third offence, parents will have to retrieve their child’s phone at the end of the day, and students will have to drop it off at the office every morning for the next three days.

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Further offences could even result in a suspension.

While most agree that cellphones should not be used inside the classrooms, some find the rules too strict.

WATCH: To ban or not to ban cellphones in Quebec classrooms?

To ban or not to ban cellphones in Quebec classrooms?
To ban or not to ban cellphones in Quebec classrooms?

“Let’s say there’s a kid at lunch that has anxiety or something and, like, can’t make friends easily — what are they gonna do?” asked Gareth Boucher. He, like many other students, thinks cellphones should be allowed during lunch time and recess.

The school says that it is not responsible for lost or stolen phones and that the safest place to keep them is at home.