Photo: Getty Images
  /  10.19.2022

Following the deadly mass school shooting in Uvalde, Texas in May, schools in the state are now offering free DNA testing kits in the event that kids go missing. However, officials say this is not a direct response to that particular event. Today (Oct. 19), one San Antonio middle school teacher told the Washington Post the term “missing” can mean “a lot of different things.”

In fact, reports say the DNA kits were first discussed in 2021, as part of a “child identification program.” In September, the kits were distributed to students in the San Antonio area. A message on the boxes read, “A gift of safety, from our family to yours.” It continued, “Over 800,000 children are missing every year — that’s one every 40 seconds.” While it may be true that kids can go missing for a number of reasons, parents aren’t buying the vague explanation.

“Texas school districts sent a notice to parents that districts will be providing DNA kits so that children can be identified in case of emergency. [The] GOP won’t pass legislation to protect your kids from guns, but they’ll make it easier to ID their bodies. This is America,” one tweet read. Those who opposed the idea slammed Gov. Greg Abbott and urged residents to vote for Texas politician Beto O’Rourke.

Another person graphically called the distribution of DNA kits a way to identify “children whose faces have been blown off by a war machine.” While speaking during a campaign stop in August, O’Rourke discussed the tragic Uvalde school shooting and condemned the sale of such weapons.

“You could [legally] buy two, or more if you want to, AR-15s, hundreds of rounds of ammunition and take that weapon, that was originally designed for use on the battlefields in Vietnam to penetrate an enemy soldier’s helmet at 500 feet and knock him down dead, up against kids at five feet,” the politician said while addressing the crowd.

The DNA kits, which are optional, would be used for “local law enforcement to help locate and return a missing or trafficked child.” The boxes would be safely kept at the family’s home and only needed in the event of an emergency. Distribution for the Houston Independent School District begins this week. The kits are available for families with “children in kindergarten through sixth grade during the 2021-2022 school year and kindergarten during the 2022-2023 school year.”

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