Students at St. Cornelius Catholic School in Chadds Ford, Penn. who just graduated the eight grade received an unlikely gift: a bulletproof shield that's placed inside their backpack.
A local company, Unequal Technologies, developed the ultra-thin SafeShield that slides into students backpacks to prevent them from sustaining gunshot wounds. The shield were donated to the entire graduating class as well as 25 staff members.
"We’re giving the students and faculty protection when they need it, and where they need it,” Rob Vito, Unequal’s president, told the Delaware County Times. “Sadly, it’s the call of our times for having protections available to the students instantaneously, and Unequal SafeShields answers that call.”
"Handguns are useless against a product like this. Shotguns are useless against a product like this," Vito told WTXF-TV.
According to Unequal Technologies, the SafeShield features ballistic grade technology and can withstand against various rounds, including .44 Mag and .357 SIG.
Parents seemed to have mixed reaction to the gift.
"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," one great-grandparent said.
The school is known for having extra safeguards in place, like taking visitors' IDs and running them through a criminal database system, similar to a background check. Anyone who has a record is turned away. They also have additional deadbolt locks that mount into the floor in each classroom.
The company chose St. Cornelius because Vito's daughter attends the school. Each SafeShield retails for $149 each.
According to Vito, schools and parents across the nation have flooded his company with emails and phone calls wanting the latest technology.
“If every student had the SafeShield, a would-be attacker has to up their game because the ordinary weapons at their disposal are not going to have an effect. The masses will now have protection and (an attacker) would have to look elsewhere, unfortunately, for the attention that they crave," Vito said. “We’re trying to drive these attackers away from schools by saying they’re very well protected.”