Texas public schools are sending DNA kits designed to help parents identify their children “in case of emergency.”

The decision sparked anxiety as it happened only five months after a mass shooting at a Uvalde elementary school left 19 students and two teachers dead.

The kit consists of ink-free fingerprint and DNA identification and it will be distributed to all eligible K-6 students. The genetic material can be stored by parents and turned over to law enforcement in case of emergency. Using the kit is not mandatory.

In the aftermath of the Uvalde shooting, many of the children could not be easily identified due to extensive gun wounds, so some family members had to rely on DNA to positively identify children remains.

The Texas state legislature passed in 2021 a law demanding the Texas Education Agency to provide identification kits to school districts. The law was enacted after eight students and two teachers were killed in a shooting in Santa Fe, Taxas.

Kenny Hansmire, director of the National Child Identification Program, the organization partnering with the Texas Education Agency to distribute the kits, said that the kits are not only intended to be used in a shooting tragedy but also designed to help finding missing kids.

“While they can be used in the aftermath of a tragedy,” Hansmire acknowledged in a statement, “they are designed to help families and guardians prevent the fact that over 500,000 children go missing each year.”

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