‘I Never Thought I’d Need This,’ Said a Kid Given a Bulletproof Backpack Shield

Middle schoolers in Pennsylvania receive 'ballistic' plates as 'gifts' as administrators plan better security

In what can be construed as a sad statement today, the entire graduating class at St. Cornelius Middle School in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, received special bulletproof backpack plates as graduation presents, as The Hill reported.

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.

A local company donated the insertable “ballistic shields” to the kids in Pennsylvania, according to Fox 29. Unequal Technologies developed the ultra-thin shields and designed a 10- by 12-inch plate that can slip into a backpack, the report noted.

The bulletproof backpack plates were also handed out to 25 faculty members.

“I never thought I’d need this,” one student said to Fox 29.

“I just wonder what this does psychologically to kids, having to, in essence, prepare for a school shooting,” one Massachusetts father of three told LifeZette. “This is a sad new normal. In previous generations, we never realized what a blessing our innocence was. Now, with mental health issues on the rise and kids being less connected to community and strong value systems, all kids have to pay the price.”

In San Antonio, Texas, the Northeast Independent School District (NEISD) announced Monday that all middle school and high school students will be required to use a clear backpack next year, The Pluralist reported.

The NEISD also said all exterior doors of the schools will be locked during school hours, and a “buzz-in” system will be used. A police presence will be increased as well.

“Unfortunately, we are living in a time when the problem of school violence doesn’t seem to be going away,” the NEISD explained to parents in a Facebook post. “We will do whatever is in our power to secure our campuses so that you don’t have to worry about your children when they are in school.”

Kids undoubtedly will chafe at the idea of clear backpacks.

“I would not like that at all,” one college freshman told LifeZette. “Part of being our age is wanting privacy in our daily lives. Plus, it’s another thing we would have to worry about — ‘What’s in my backpack that others can see? Old fruit, a million receipts, an old sweat sock?'”

Related: Relax, Parents — The Safest Place for Your Kids Is Still School

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, recently announced a proposal that includes the funding of firearms training programs for school officials. And the Texas NEISD noted that “administrators will receive active-shooter training this summer, and each of our counselors will receive annual mental health training to better support our students’ needs.”

Deirdre Reilly is a senior editor for LifeZette. Follow her on Twitter.