A Toronto middle school has banned the use of cellphones in classrooms, a decision that has many students upset and parents divided over how much screen time should be allowed at school.

Starting Tuesday, students at Earl Grey Senior Public School will be forced to leave their phones in their lockers during and between classes. At lunch, the Grade 7 and 8 students will be allowed to use their devices with certain restrictions, including no social media, no texting and no taking or viewing photos and videos.

The school introduced the rule to help students focus in class rather than be tempted to check their devices. The Toronto District School Board (TDSB) said the ban comes after requests from some parents and careful consultation with teachers.

“There seemed to be a consensus that, yeah, the school should adjust their current policy when it comes to cellphones. So they’ve taken the step of saying cellphones are not permitted in class,” TDSB spokesman Ryan Bird told CTV Toronto.

Cellphone bans aren’t exactly new for Toronto schools. Starting in 2007 – the year Apple introduced the first generation of iPhones – the TDSB instituted a board-wide ban on cellphones. That ban was eventually lifted in 2011. The school board said teachers could waive the ban if cellphones serve a purpose for a particular lesson.

While the Earl Grey school’s decision included consultation with parents, some said they weren’t happy with the new rules.

“I don’t like the ban. I think they should have them during the lunch hour. Just in case I need to get in touch with them or they need to get in touch with me,” a father said.

“It’s nice to be able to reach them at lunch time,” another parent said.

Students were split on the decision. Many insisted it was “unfair” that all students were being punished for the behaviour of few.

“It’s kind of unfair that a lot of people don’t actually abuse it but we’re all getting the punishment,” one student said.

“I think it’s really stupid and unfair,” another said.

But some agreed with administrators that constant access to technology was taking away from their learning experience.

“The children in class are not focused on the teacher, and it’s making everybody else’s learning not fun,” one student said.

With a report from CTV Toronto