State Watch

3.8 million Texas students to take home DNA identification kits 5 months after Uvalde

About 3.8 million Texas students will be sent home with at-home DNA and fingerprint identification kits in the following weeks in case of an emergency, according to multiple reports.

The Child I.D. kit distribution is a result of S.B. No. 2158, passed in 2021 following the 2018 shooting at Santa Fe High School in Texas, which resulted in the deaths of 9 students and one teacher, Axios noted. The law mandates the Texas Education Agency provide the kits to all eligible children, which comprises kids in kindergarten through eighth grade.

“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,” the bill text states.

The Houston Independent School District notified parents of the kit distribution this week in a letter, noting that using them was optional.

“Caregivers are under no obligation to use the kits, but they must be informed by your institution that the available kits will allow them to have a set of their child’s fingerprints and DNA in that they can turn over to law enforcement in case of an emergency,” the letter reads, according to The Houston Chronicle.

The kits are being sent home with kids five months after the Uvalde mass shooting, which left 19 students and two teachers dead at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.

Beto O’Rourke, the Democratic challenger to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R), has recently linked the DNA kits to his opponent’s lack of support for gun control methods following the tragedy.

“This is Greg Abbott’s Texas. More school shootings than any other state on his watch but no action to prevent the next,” he wrote in a Monday tweet.

O’Rourke added, “We will not allow this to be our future. We will keep our kids safe.”

Similar programs are being introduced in other states and school districts, including in Virginia, where the parents of students in sixth, seventh, and eighth grades will soon receive the kits, according to NBC News 10.

Tags Abbott Beto O'Rourke Beto O’Rourke Child I.D. kit distribution dna kits Greg Abbott Greg Abbott Houston Houston Independent School District o'rourke Robb Elementary S.B. No. 2158 Santa Fe High School shooting Texas Texas Texas Education Agency The Houston Chronicle Uvalde uvalde Uvalde shooting Virginia

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