Graduating eighth-graders get ballistic shields for backpacks

The Associated Press

CHADDS FORD, Pa. — Graduating eighth-graders have received a parting gift from their Pennsylvania school: ballistic shields for their backpacks.

A company that makes the bulletproof inserts gave them to students during a ceremony Monday at St. Cornelius School in Chadds Ford, outside Philadelphia. Faculty members also received the 10-by-12-inch inserts.

Unequal Technologies says the shields resist many types of bullets, shotgun blasts, shrapnel and knives. However, the lightweight panels do not offer protection against high-powered rifles like the one a gunman used to kill 17 people at a Florida high school in February.

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The daughter of the company's founder attends St. Cornelius.

Unequal Senior Vice President Jim Caldwell says that as students go through their high school years, the shields are "a gift that hopefully they'll never have to use."