Texas public schools are taking action in accordance with a new policy that was signed into law last year in response to a school shooting that took the lives of 19 children and two teachers in Uvalde.
The Texas Education Agency is requiring districts to distribute inkless fingerprint and DNA identification kits to parents so their children can be identified in the event of an emergency, such as a school shooting. While districts are required to distribute the kits, participation is voluntary.
Parents overwhelmingly describe finding the policy disturbing.
“As I’m responding right now, I’m full of goosebumps head to toe, honestly,” one parent told KFOX 14. “I feel like we should be prepared in advance, just in case the tragedy did happen like in the case of Uvalde, and kids end up with deformities and are unrecognizable.”
That opinion is shared by a larger group of advocates calling for increased efforts to prevent gun violence instead of implementing policies that prepare families for what to do once it’s already happened.
Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action, a grassroots movement to address gun violence took to Twitter to address her concerns with the new policy this week.
“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,” she tweeted.
“This is the sickest thing I’ve ever seen,” one person responded. “Omg. Disgusting,” said another.
Parents have pleaded for change by legislation to reduce gun violence in schools, such as raising the age requirement to purchase an assault rifle. However, according to Abbott, doing so would be “unconstitutional” based on a federal ruling. “It is clear that the gun control law that they are seeking in Uvalde—as much as they may want it—has already been ruled as unconstitutional,” he said in a statement.
— Gromer M. Jeffers (@gromerjeffers) August 31, 2022