Graduating from middle school is an exciting time, marking a transition into a new phase for many children. One company decided to mark the occasion with a gift, albeit a nontraditional choice. Unequal Technology, a company that previously manufactured inserts designed to protect students from sports injuries, delved into the world of bulletproof liners and gave them to students.
On Monday, according to a report by ABC News, Unequal Technology provided bulletproof liners to the outgoing 8th-grade class at Saint Cornelius School in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania.
The liners are designed to function as ballistic shields and are capable of protecting the wearer against shots from .357 and .44 caliber handguns.
Robert Vito, the founder of the company, providing them to the students to ensure they were properly equipped for high school.
Many of the students seemed unsure about the “welcome to high school” gift they were provided, and many expressed that they hoped it was something they would never have to use.
“I never thought I’d need this,” said one student who received a liner.
Parents and guardians had mixed reactions to the gifts, being appreciative of the company’s efforts but also saddened that they may be necessary.
“You hear about these school shootings almost weekly,” said one great-grandparent at the graduation, “and I can’t believe that’s where we are in our nation today, but that’s a fact.”
The bulletproof liner, a 10 x 12 inch ultra-thin Safe Shield, is designed to slide into a backpack, creating a barrier between the student and any bullets that may be fired at the back.
“Handguns are useless against a product like this,” said Vito. “Shotguns are useless against a product like this.”
Along with the gift to students, Unequal Technology also provided another 25 plates for faculty members. As far as why the school was selected, it was influenced by the fact that Vito’s daughter attends classes at Saint Cornelius.
“Anything that we can do to protect our children and our staff, that’s what we have,” stated Principal Barbara Rosini, referring to the other advanced security measures at the school, such as reviewing visitor driver’s licenses and running their information through a criminal records database. “That’s my job, to try and protect them and I do the best I can.”