Texas Public Schools Give Parents DNA Kits To Identify Their Children’s Bodies ‘In Case Of An Emergency’ Following The Robb Elementary School Mass Shooting 


Texas Public Schools Give Parents DNA Kits To Identify Their Children’s Bodies ‘In Case Of An Emergency’ Following The Robb Elementary School Mass Shooting

The state of Texas has decided to send public school students home with DNA kits designed to assist their guardians in identifying their children “in case of an emergency.”

According to reports, back in 2021, the Texas state legislature passed Senate Bill No. 2158, a law demanding that the Texas Education Agency,

“provide identification kits to school districts and open-enrollment charter schools for distribution to the parent or legal custodian of certain students.”

The law was passed a year before the unfortunate Uvalde, Texas mass shooting that took place at Robb Elementary School. However, reports claim Public school districts across Texas have only recently started to hand out the identification kits — a few months after the tragedy occurred. 

As previously reported, on Tuesday (May 24) 18-year-old Salvador Ramos barricaded himself inside a Robb Elementary School fourth-grade classroom. Using an AR-15-style semi-automatic rifle, he then opened fire and murdered two teachers and 19 children. Salvador Ramos was eventually killed on the scene by law enforcement officers.  

Salvador Ramos

The Texas public school system DNA kits will contain ink-free fingerprint and DNA identification cards for all kindergarten to sixth-grade students who are eligible. It’s important to note that it is not mandatory that the parents use the kits. According to the legislation, the fingerprint and DNA verification kits were designed to “help locate and return a missing or trafficked child.”

Reportedly, many of the children who were fatally shot inside Robb Elementary were not easily identifiable as a result of their catastrophic injuries. Some of the victims’ close family members provided DNA swabs in order to accurately identify the children’s remains. Former CIA and FBI agent, Tracy Walder, admitted to being “devastated” when she heard her second-grade daughter would be sent home with a DNA kit. Walder said:

“You have to understand, I’m a former law enforcement officer. I worry every single day when I send my kid to school. Now we’re giving parents DNA kits so that when their child is killed with the same weapon of war I had when I was in Afghanistan, parents can use them to identify them?”

Tracy Walder added:

“This sends two messages: The first is that the government is not going to do anything to solve the problem. This is their way of telling us that. The second is that us parents are now forced to have conversations with our kids that they may not be emotionally ready for. My daughter is 7. What do I tell her?”

Brett Cross, whose 10-year-old son was killed in the Robb Elementary School shooting, shared his frustration over the kits. Brett Cross took to Twitter and wrote:

“Yeah! Awesome! Let’s identify kids after they’ve been murdered instead of fixing issues that could ultimately prevent them from being murdered.” 

A representative for  the Texas Education Agency said in a written statement: 

“Senate Bill 2158 established the Child Identification Program, a grant to supply child I.D. fingerprint and DNA identification kits to school systems to provide to families in their respective school communities.

The statement added:

“To fulfill this statutory obligation, TEA is collaborating with the Safety Blitz Foundation, National Child Identification (I.D.) Program, Education Service Centers, and school systems to provide families who had children in kindergarten through sixth grade during the 2021-2022 school year and kindergarten during the 2022-2023 school year with child I.D. fingerprint kits.”

After the Uvalde tragedy, the kits are seemingly making parents more anxious about sending their children to school. Some parents also admitted to feeling uncomfortable sending their children’s DNA to strangers for privacy concerns. Wendi Aarons, a Texas mother of two, said:

“It makes me physically sick. I have a hard time even grappling with this as a real thing that is happening. Parents of school kids should be worrying about (parent-teacher organization) sign-up sheets and grades and if their kid likes whatever they’re serving in the cafeteria that day, not their child’s murder and if they’re shot so many times their body cannot be identified.”

She added:

“It’s astounding, to realize that not only has the state of Texas done absolutely nothing to protect our kids and teachers, they’ve taken the callous, heartless, cruel measure to send DNA test kits so we can identify their bodies if or when they’re victims of a massacre. It sends the message that guns are more important than us.”

What are your thoughts on Texas public schools sending their students home with DNA kits just in case their parents have to identify them ‘due to an emergency?’ Tell us in the comments below.

[VIA 1,2]

Authored by: Tsai-Ann Hill