Graduating 8th grade class given sobering gift as they head to high school, bullet-proof ballistic shields

These are the times we live in.

A Pennsylvania middle school presented its eight-grade class with an unusual graduation gift. Students at St. Cornelius in Chadds Ford were given bullet-proof ballistic shields as they head into high school, WXTF-TV reported.

The sobering gifts were provided by Unequal Technologies, a local company which developed the Safe Shield and designed the ultra-thin plate to be slipped into a student’s backpack.

“Handguns are useless against a product like this. Shotguns are useless against a product like this,” Rob Vito, the company’s president, said.

Vito’s daughter attends St. Cornelius where the shields were donated to the graduating eighth-grade class. Another 25 plates were also donated to members of the school’s faculty.

The Safe Shield has a “kid friendly design — cannot be inserted incorrectly, both sides protect,” according to its website which states that the bulletproof plate is “so thin it fits in virtually any pocket” and it also has a “washable, nylon cover” in case of spills.

“I never thought I’d need this,” Jacob Nicosia told WXTF, mirroring the slight bewilderment from fellow classmates at receiving the unusual parting gifts.

“You hear about these school shootings almost weekly, and I can’t believe that’s where we are in our nation today, but that’s the fact,” a great-grandparent of one of the students said.

In the wake of deadly school shootings like the ones in Parkland and Santa Fe, school officials have struggled to come up with ways to protect students in the midst of an active shooter emergency. Some have agreed with President Trump’s suggestion to arm certain members of the school staff while others have even touted placing buckets of river stones in every class.

The school already has tight security in place, with a system of checking visitors’ driver’s licenses against a computer database for criminal records, according to WXTF. Each St. Cornelius classroom also has an extra deadbolt lock mounted into the floor in addition to the regular locks on the doors.

“Anything that we can do to protect our children and our staff, that’s what we have — that’s my job, to try to protect them and I try to do the best I can,” Principal Barbara Rosini said.

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