The graduating 8th grade class of St. Cornelius in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania got an unusual gift as they prepared to join the ranks of American high-schoolers - bulletproof plates for their backpacks.
The graduating 8th graders at St. Cornelius seemed unsure just what to make of their "welcome to high school" gifts.
“I never thought I’d need this,” one student explained.
As Fox29 reports, the "ballistic shields" were donated by a local company - Unequal Technologies, who developed the ultra-thin 10-by-12-inch plate that can slip into a backpack.
"Handguns are useless against a product like this. Shotguns are useless against a product like this," explained Rob Vito, Unequal’s president.
Unequal donated the ballistic shields to the graduating 8th grade class and 25 plates were given to school faculty. Vito’s daughter attends St. Cornelius.
In a clear sign that times have changed; while parents and guardians of students told the news outlet that a bulletproof backpack may be extreme, they pointed out that it's necessary.
"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," said one great-grandparent who was attending the event.
Principal Barbara Rosini seemed happy for the help...
"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."
While officials are offering firearms-training to teachers, and anti-gun protests continue around the country, one can't help but wonder if this 'gift' was nothing but an uncomfortable piece of free promotion by the bulletproof pack provider - one look at the kids' faces above as they received their 'gift' tells you everything.
As one commenter asked: "did the big pharma companies give them free adderall, ritalin, and prozac to get them through high school?"