Pa. students given bulletproof backpack panels developed by local company

Unequal Technologies

One Catholic school in Pennsylvania has resorted to handing out bullet proof gadgets during the eighth-graders' graduation.

An entire graduating class of eighth-graders at a Pennsylvania school received bulletproof shields for their backpacks to prepare them for high school - even though the devices would likely be ineffective against high-powered semi-automatic weapons.

Ballistic shields are typically used by military and law enforcement for protection against gunfire.

Tammy Brogan, a teacher at the school, said as she showed her 9-year-old daughter how to slip one of the shields into her school bag, "I don't know if she fully understands the impact".

"When we saw the epidemic happening in the schools, we decided it was time to do something", Rob Vito, president of Unequal, told Chadds Ford Live. He said the shield works whether it's inserted front or back first. "I can't believe that's where we are in our nation today, but that's the fact".

Following the several campus shootings in recent months, schools have been struggling to come up with immediate ways to help protect students in the event of an active shooter situation.

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"Handguns are useless against a product like this", Vito told the graduating students during the Monday graduation ceremony.

"It's better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it", Vito said during the graduation ceremony. "I hope you [the students] keep them with you in high school".

The manufacturer of the shields said they would be able to withhold shots fired from handguns or shotgun attacks, if a student is hit from behind.

Some advocates have been critical of products like the SafeShield.

"The students thought it was cool, but it was also a somber moment as they contemplated the reality of potential gun violence in their schools, which has tragically become the "new" normal", Vito told CNN in an email.

WXTF-TV reported that St. Cornelius School gave the students the unlikely graduation presents, which were provided by a local company.

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