Texas School Districts Distribute DNA Kits in Emergencies

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Texas public school systems are set to distribute DNA and fingerprint identification kits for K-8 students to parents who wish to participate.

The state legislature pass a law in the spring of 2021, requiring the Texas Education Agency to donate inkless fingerprint and DNA home identification cards to every public school system in Texas. The kits will be made available on each primary level campus. The cards are intended to be kept by guardians who can hand them over to law enforcement to help locate missing or trafficked children.

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In the Houston Independent School District, the largest in the state, distribution of the kits will begin this week.

“Caregivers are under no obligation to use the kits, but they should be advised by your institution that the kits available will allow them to have a set of fingerprints and DNA from their child to the extent that they can hand over to law enforcement in an emergency,” reads a letter recently sent to all HISD directors.

Other districts, such as Clear Creek ISD, have already begun notifying parents that the kits are available.

Some families found the program chilling, given that police asked parents waiting to find out if their children were shot at Robb Elementary on May 24 to provide DNA samples to help identify the dead.

“When you put it in the light of Uvalde, it’s one of the most macabre things you could think of,” said Bob Sanborn, president of Children at Risk.

Kenneth S. Trump, a national school safety consultant, said getting the kits to parents could be helpful, but said the proximity and timing of the distribution could raise alarm bells for parents and children. still reeling from the news of Uvalde.

“On the one hand, I see the value in saying, ‘Here’s a tool you can have in case of potential threats,'” he said. “But I think we have to be very careful before we cross the line of not hurting the point where we create more anxiety.”

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Messages from administrators should make it clear that the kits are intended to be an additional resource available to parents and guardians in the event their children go missing, Trump said.

“Even if it’s about human trafficking or other risks, we need to communicate the likelihood of these events so we don’t create fear and anxiety that suggest children are in imminent danger at school. “, did he declare.

Due to the nature of the murders at Robb Elementary, Trump said DNA samples were required, however, he added that is not always the case in all mass school shootings.

“Uvalde was such a waste of a situation with so many casualties, so it was needed there,” he said. “We have to be very careful not to base any forward preparedness actions on a retrospective pattern of the last incident alone.”



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