Texas schools offer DNA kits to identify children in shootings

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Security camera footage from inside Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas as a gunman killed 19 children and two teachers while hundreds of police waited outside.

Security camera footage from inside Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas as a gunman killed 19 children and two teachers while hundreds of police waited outside.
Screenshot: Austin American Statesman

According to a new report from Houston Chronicle. And while the law never explicitly says it’s to identify children whose bodies can be torn apart by a school shooter with a high-powered rifle, that’s all any parent can think of, since it’s ‘is What happened in Uvalde earlier this year.

The DNA and fingerprint kits, which are available for children in kindergarten through 8th grade in Texas, can be kept at home or given to the school or local police department, depending on the wishes of the children. parents and guardians. The new program is part of a Texas law passed in 2021 that specifies that DNA samples and fingerprinting are voluntary. And it’s billed as something that can be kept on file in case the kids need to be identified by strangers.

“Participation in the program is completely voluntary and allows parents to take, store and verify their child’s fingerprints and DNA in their own home should the need arise,” a school district spokesperson said. Canutillo to a local. CBS Affiliate.

Some parents in Texas are understandably upset by the very idea of ​​taking their child’s DNA, noting that it does nothing to prevent school shootings.

“DNA or fingerprints won’t make my child any safer,” a parent from the Houston Independent School District told the Houston Chronicle“It will help with identification later.”

In Uvalde, where 19 children and two teachers were murdered as police waited outside, many children saw their bodies so destroyed by the killer’s bullets that parents were asked to submit DNA samples to help identify their children. In fact, at least two of the children murdered at Uvalde were described as “decapitated” by the gunman’s AR-15, according to Dr. Roy Guerrero, a pediatrician who worked at Uvalde Memorial Hospital when the children were brought in.

“I had heard from some nurses that there were two dead children who had been transferred to the surgical area of ​​the hospital. What I have discovered is something that no prayer will ever relieve,” Dr. Guerrero told a congressional hearing. next month.

“Two children, whose bodies had been so pulverized by the bullets fired at them, decapitated, whose flesh had been torn so much, that the only clue as to their identity was the blood-splattered cartoon clothes still clinging to them. Hanging on for life and finding nothing,” Guerrero said.

Minor gun reforms were enacted as a result of Uvalde, though they failed to address any of the major issues. Democrats’ proposalsincluding a desire to raise the age of gun purchase, a proposal to ban assault weapons like the country did in the 1990s, and expand universal background checks.

The United States still has some of the most lax gun laws of any wealthy country. And it still behooves schools to “harden up” as if they were military installations and pursue new tactics like DNA kits to prepare for the worst.

While the new Texas states of law that no child’s fingerprints may “be used as evidence in any criminal proceedings in which the child is a defendant”, it says nothing similar about the DNA sample. The law also states that schools must adopt rules for the destruction of student fingerprints and photographs used for identification purposes, but never specifies what those rules should be, much less how those records should be kept for guarantee confidentiality. And, again, that says nothing about adopting rules to destroy DNA samples.

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