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Wednesday, November 30, 2022
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School Safety Director Clarifies Purpose of DNA Kits


DNA kit | Image by Southworks

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Contrary to information previously reported by multiple sources, Texas is not distributing DNA kits for the purpose of identifying children in the event of school shootings. As reported by The Dallas Express, the kits are being made available to comply with a law passed in 2021.

The initial claim made by some media outlets was that the state was passing out DNA kits to schools to identify students by fingerprints and victims of shootings by DNA in the aftermath of future attacks.

In October, social media users claimed Texas had implemented a new school policy to address mass school shootings.

One Instagram user asked in an October 19 post, “So, in the state of Texas — instead of making sure kids don’t get shot in school, they are sending children home with DNA kits so their parents can identify them in case they are murdered?!?”

The post generated 3,000 likes in less than a week; similar posts were shared on Twitter.

The director of the Texas School Safety Center at Texas State University, Kathy Martinez-Prather, told reporters that Texas schools are not distributing DNA kits to identify students in school shootings.

She said their usage is voluntary, and the kits are meant to combat child trafficking.

Prather’s social media post misrepresented a provision in state Senate Bill 2175, which passed during the 2021 legislative session.

The legislation amended the Texas Education Code to require the Texas Education Agency to distribute “inkless, in-home fingerprint and DNA identification kits” to school districts.

Families can request these kits from schools to keep and submit to federal, state, tribal, or local law enforcement in situations where their child goes missing or is trafficked, according to the legislation.

The DNA kits were rolled out to school districts in October to children between kindergarten and eighth grade, according to Kenny Hansmire, the executive director of the National Child Identification Program (NCIP). The NCIP works with the Texas Education Agency to create and distribute the kits.

Throughout the 2022 Texas gubernatorial race, gun rights talking points have divided the candidates in the wake of the May mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, which left 19 children and two adults dead.

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