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Texas students to be sent home with ID kits designed to collect DNA and fingerprints

By Shelley Childers

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    HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) — Heads up, parents. Over the next few weeks, Texas public school students in kindergarten through eighth grade will be coming home with Child I.D. kits.

The kits collect an inkless fingerprint and DNA sample to help identify students in case of an emergency.

The kit distribution comes on the heels of the Uvalde mass shooting, causing some parents to raise eyebrows. However, they were actually mandated by the state legislature back in 2021.

The Child I.D. kits are a voluntary identification card intended to be kept by guardians who can give them to law enforcement in order to potentially help find missing or trafficked children.

The state of Texas is distributing them through the Texas Education Agency.

Across Texas classrooms this month, approximately 3.8 million children will bring home a kit.

“This is certainly unique,” said Clear Creek ISD Spokesperson Elaina Polsen. “I would agree this is a role that we haven’t played in the past as a school system.”

Clear Creek ISD is joining every single public school district in Texas in handing out the kits.

The kits, similar to a tri-fold pamphlet, allow you to document your child’s physical description, record an inkless fingerprint, and place a saliva sample on the paper.

The distribution to millions of children shortly after the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, and three years after the mass shooting at Santa Fe High School, has some parents concerned about the state’s priorities.

“It was almost like the state just throwing their hands up and saying, ‘We can’t do anything about the guns. We’re not going to change any of the laws. So, therefore, the next best thing is to make sure that we can identify your K through eighth grader if they are killed in any type of school incident,'” Clear Creek ISD parent Anthony Crutch said.

The kits are coming from the National Child Identification Program after state legislature passed SB-2158 in summer 2021, after the Santa Fe school shooting, but before Uvalde.

ABC13 reached out to the bill’s sponsor Senator Donna Campbell. Her office said the kits were meant for parents to use in case a child goes missing.

The National Child Identification Program says they previously partnered with the state of Texas during Rick Perry’s administration to hand out the cards to kindergarten students, but because of a 12-year lapse in the program, they are now sending the cards home to all public school district and open-enrolled charter school students in kindergarten through eighth grade.

“When I receive them we’re going to complete the kit and store it in the cabinet and pray to God nothing happens,” said Crutch.

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