As a way to identify missing children, schools in Texas are sending home free DNA tests and ink-free fingerprint identification kits to parents of children in Kindergarten through sixth grade. This program was issued to public school districts and open-enrollment charter schools.
This program was created in early September 2021, and Senate Bill #2158 ensured that parents and guardians living in Texas were given the option to request certain take-home tests that could potentially help identify their children if they go missing.
“A parent or legal custodian who receives a fingerprint and DNA identification kit may submit the kit to federal, state, tribal, or local law enforcement to help locate and return a missing or trafficked child,” says Section 33.0531 of the Child Identification Program.
The Texas government has stated that these tests were meant to be used “in case of an emergency.”
Due to the recent shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, many parents are voicing their concerns regarding this bill. It is not stated that the kits from this program are intended to aid in identification of students after the event of a shooting, but a large quantity of parents have made this assumption.
From the 19 children and two teachers who died in the Uvalde Shooting, some were identified using the DNA tests from this program. Those who are parents of victims of the shooting are also upset by this. Now, parents are hesitant to send their children back to school.
“My daughter is SEVEN in a Texas public school. I want my tax dollars going towards sensible gun laws, not DNA kits for me to be able to identify her broken little body should the unthinkable happen,” says worried mom Tracy Walder on Twitter.
While the miscommunication was not expected, the plan was initially executed in schools as distribution was much more effective. Nevertheless, people have continued to question whether schools are the best dispatchers for this type of program.
Greg Abbott, Governor of Texas, has yet to speak on this matter.