Texas to offer free DNA kits so parents can ID their kids after school massacres

By Alma Fabiani

Published Oct 19, 2022 at 10:59 AM

Reading time: 2 minutes

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Ever since the May 2022 Robb Elementary School mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, that killed 19 children and two teachers while police officers stood in a stupor outside, the state has come up with no plans to prevent future school massacres.

Instead, Texas’ public school districts are about to hand out DNA and fingerprint kits to any family who wants them. The logic behind this move? Well, what better way to identify an otherwise-unrecognisable child after a school shooting than through their DNA or fingerprints? That is, if they are still intact.

The DNA and fingerprint kits, which are available for kids enrolled in kindergarten to 8th grade in Texas, can be stored at home or given to the school or local police department, depending on the wishes of the children’s guardians.

The new initiative is part of a Texas law passed in 2021 that makes clear that the DNA samples and fingerprints are voluntary. Oh, and it’s billed as something that can be kept on file just in case children need to be identified by strangers…

“Participation in the program is completely voluntary and allows parents to take, store, and control their child’s fingerprints and DNA in their own home in the event that is ever needed,” a spokesperson for the Canutillo school district told a local CBS affiliate.

Understandably, some parents in Texas are upset about the idea of collecting their kid’s DNA, noting that it does nothing to actually prevent school shootings in the first place. “DNA or fingerprints will not make my kid safer,” one parent from the Houston Independent School District told the Houston Chronicle.

“It will help with identification afterwards,” they continued. After the Uvalde school shooting, many of the victims had their bodies so damaged by the killer’s bullets that parents were asked to submit DNA samples to help identify their kids. At least two of the kids murdered were described as “decapitated” by the gunman’s AR-15, according to Dr Roy Guerrero, a pediatrician who was working at Uvalde Memorial Hospital as children were brought in.

“I had heard from some of the nurses that there were two dead children who had been moved to the surgical area of the hospital. What I did find was something no prayer will ever relieve,” Dr Guerrero testified to a congressional hearing the following month.

“Two children, whose bodies had been so pulverised by the bullets fired at them, decapitated, whose flesh had been so ripped apart, that the only clue as to their identities was the blood-spattered cartoon clothes still clinging to them. Clinging for life and finding none,” Dr Guerrero added.

As the US continues to witness countless mass shootings due to its relaxed gun laws, it is yet another blow for anti-gun supporters to see that, for now, the responsibility is still put on schools to prepare for the worst and test weak tactics such as the DNA kits.

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