Eighth Graders Receive Bulletproof Shields Before Starting High School

He told Fox29 that both handguns and shotguns "are useless against a product like this."

Thought students and teachers have sat with the reality of having to own this form of protection, everyone involved, including student Jake Nicosia, hopes these kids never have to wear it anyway.

For graduating eighth-graders at St. Cornelius Catholic School, a celebratory time was abruptly interrupted by a sobering gift: ballistic shields to protect them from a potential school shooter.

Unequal Senior Vice President Jim Caldwel says the shields are "a gift that hopefully they'll never have to use". The company's CEO, Robert Vito, has a daughter at the school.

In the wake of recent school shootings in Florida and Texas, officials nationwide are scrambling to take measures they believe will help keep students safe.

This past February, seventeen students were shot and killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida - prompting hundreds of school walkouts across the country and national debates over U.S. gun laws.

The backpack plates, a new offering from a company known for protective sportswear, have been shown to resist ammunition, including a 9 mm full metal jacket round, a.44 Magnum round, and birdshot fired from a 12-gauge shotgun, the company said.

Barbara Rosini, the principal at St. Cornelius, said she first made contact with Vito regarding the panels after getting the idea during a school safety conference.

"You hear about these school shootings nearly weekly, and I can't believe that's where we are in our nation today, but that's the fact", one great-grandparent said. "We went to the military testing ground and said break this". "If it's real to you and you feel better sending your kid out with this kind of armored product, that's your choice".

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

They appeared "unsure just what to make of their "welcome to high school" gifts", said FOX 29's Bruce Gordon.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)

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