Government Fail

Texas Is Giving Parents DNA Kits So Kids Can Be ID'd After A Shooting

Because Texas Governor Abbot would literally do *anything* except reform gun laws.

People pay tribute and mourn at a makeshift memorial for the victims of the Robb Elementary School s...

It’s been less than a year since the horrific mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas where nineteen students and two teachers were fatally shot and seventeen others were wounded. Since then (and basically since 1999), many have been calling for stricter gun laws.

However in some states, like Texas, local government has different solutions to this ever-growing mass shooting crisis. The state of Texas is sending public school students home with DNA kits that are meant to help parents identify their children "in case of an emergency."

In 2021, the Texas state legislature passed Senate Bill No. 2158, a law requiring 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 bill was made into a law about a year before the Uvalde massacre, after eight students and two teachers were shot and killed inside a Santa Fe high school — one of 34 school shootings to occur in 2021.

After Uvalde, though, parents of murdered and injured kids waited hours and hours to find out information about their children — in part because the damage that semi-automatic weapons do to children’s bodies make them difficult to identify.

According to the law, local government will “provide to all school districts and open-enrollment charter schools inkless, in-home fingerprint and DNA identification kits” to all K-6 students who are eligible. It should be noted that parents have the option to opt out of this.

According to Today, the kits allow parents and caregivers to store their children’s DNA and fingerprints at home, so if needed, parents could turn over their kids DNA to law enforcement agencies to basically identify their body after they’ve been murdered with a gun in their classroom. What does this do to help protect kids who are already dead?

Texas law claims that these kits are for any kind of “emergency” and that the DNA verification kits were intended to “help locate and return a missing or trafficked child.”

“A gift of safety, from our family to yours,” reads the message printed on the kits. “Over 800,000 children are missing every year — that’s one every 40 seconds,” the text on the envelope reads.

To no one’s surprise, Texas parents and gun reform activists were less than thrilled with this “solution.”

“Texas Gov Greg Abbott is choosing to send DNA kits to schools that parents can use to identify their children’s bodies AFTER they’ve been murdered rather than pass gun safety laws to proactively protect their lives,” Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, tweeted about the Republican leader.

Brett Cross, whose 10-year-old son Uziyah Garcia was killed in the Uvalde shooting, aired his anger and frustration with the DNA kits in a tweet dripping with sarcasm.

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

What parent would even want to take these kind of “preventative” measures with the idea that their own flesh and blood’s DNA was needed to be stored in case they end up getting gunned down while at school? Not to mention the privacy issues of having your children’s DNA floating around after a parent sends it to law enforcement.

The entire concept is disturbing, depressing, and really brings a sense of hopelessness to many parents who feel as though there will never be an end to this, wondering if government has accepted school shootings as a new normal.

“It makes me physically sick,” Wendi Aarons, a mom of two who has lived in Texas since 1999, told TODAY Parents. “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.”

What better way to make parents feel safe and secure sending their kids to school than having to swab their mouths and put some of their hair into a kit with hopes that if they do get shot so much they are impossible to recognize that their DNA can help? This is not okay. Read the room, Texas.

Read more about Moms Demand Action to learn how to take an active role in ending gun violence.