Graduating eighth graders from a school in Pennsylvania were given bulletproof shields for their backpacks Monday in preparation for high school.
A local company provided the ‘ballistic shields’ to students at St. Cornelius in Chadds Ford school, Fox-affiliate WTXF reports.
“I never thought I’d need this,” said one student.
The shields were given to the students by Glen Mills-based Unequal Technologies, which designed the ultra-thin, 10-by-12-inch plate that can be slipped into a backpack.
“Handguns are useless against a product like this,” said Unequal’s president, Rob Vito. “Shotguns are useless against a product like this.” Associated Press reports that the shields do not offer protection against assault weapons and rifles like the one used to kill 17 people at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas school in Florida in February.
The shields were given to every student graduating the eighth grade on Monday, including Vito’s daughter who also attends the school. Twenty-five bullet-resistant plates were gifted to faculty members.
“You hear about these school shootings almost weekly,” said one great-grandparent who attended the event, “and I can’t believe that’s where we are in our nation today, but that’s the fact.”
According to data compiled by the the Washington Post, more than 215,000 students in the U.S. have experienced gun violence at school since the Columbine High School massacre in 1999. This year alone there have been 23 school shootings, CNN has found. Last month, a 17-year-old student opened fire at Santa Fe High School in Texas, killing 10 people.