Students attending Texas public schools are going to be sent home with more than just homework in the coming weeks.
All students in kindergarten through to Grade 8 will be given state-funded DNA and fingerprinting kits so parents can identify their children’s bodies “in case of an emergency,” reported affiliate ABC13. In October, approximately 3.8 million students will bring home a kit.
Bill No. 215B declared it mandatory for the Texas Education Agency to “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 almost a year before a teenage gunman killed 19 Grade 4 students and two teachers at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. Uvalde’s only pediatrician told Today in May that DNA records had to be used to identify several of the severely disfigured victims killed in Uvalde.
The kits, which are to be kept in a safe place in the student’s homes, are optional. Parents are not required to take their child’s DNA or fingerprints.
Using the three-fold pamphlet style kits, parents will be able to keep record of their child’s physical description, fingerprint and saliva sample.
The National Child Identification Program is providing the kits.
The distribution of the DNA and fingerprinting kits has triggered loud criticism from Texas parents and residents. Brett Cross, whose son Uziyah Garcia was killed at Robb Elementary, tweeted that the kits are “like wiping your ass before you take a sh—.”
ABC13 reported that the National Child Identification Program previously partnered with former Texas governor Rick Perry to distribute the kits to kindergarten students, but “a 12-year lapse in the program” halted the process.