WATCH: Pennsylvania 8th-graders given bulletproof backpack 'shields' in macabre graduation gift
8th graders in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania examine their "Safe Shields" given as graduation gifts (Screen cap via Fox 29).

8th graders graduating from the St. Cornelius middle school in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, this week were given a macabre gift: Bulletproof backpack "shields" intended to save their lives during a future school shooting.

Local news station Fox 29 reports that the Safety Shields were donated to the school by Unequal Technologies, a nearby manufacturer that typically specializes in sports equipment but has been developing backpack shields in response to the current school shooting epidemic.

"Handguns are useless against a product like this," boasted Unequal Technologies President Rob Vito to the graduating students. "Shotguns are useless against a product like this."

The shields are designed to slip into students' backpacks so they can then use their packs to protect themselves in the event of an active shooter.

However, Fox 29 says that many students seemed baffled by the fact that this was the gift they were getting to welcome them to high school.

"I never thought I’d need this," one student told Fox 29.

A great grandparent of one of the graduating students similarly said it was a sad commentary on American society that 8th graders needed to be given bulletproof shields as rites de passage going into high school.

"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," they said.

Watch Fox 29's report on the graduation ceremony below.