Take-home DNA kits for students are for emergencies, not in response to Uvalde tragedy, lawmaker says

Texas supplying child identification card kits to parents as part of a law passed in 2021

This month, the state of Texas will distribute National Child Identification Program kits to elementary and middle school-aged students as part of a safety initiative that legislators mandated in 2021.

SAN ANTONIO – This month, the state of Texas will distribute National Child Identification Program kits to elementary and middle school-aged students as part of a safety initiative that legislators mandated in 2021.

The child identification kits are designed to provide critical information in the case of a missing minor. The kit includes a saliva swab collection box, an inkless fingerprint card and an applicator, which allows parents to document their children’s physical appearance.

In June 2021, legislators approved the kits to be released to families of kindergarten through eighth-grade students. The distribution process gives parents an option to use them voluntarily.

“If anything happens, we’re already a step ahead,” said San Antonio ISD parent Sergio Limon.

Another parent agreed with Limon and believes the kits are crucial for safety.

“It’s very important for the security of our children,” said San Antonio ISD parent David Martinez.

However, the timing of the kits’ release has some families on the fence.

“They have already been traumatized so much, and giving them this kit -- it was very overwhelming for the little ones,” said San Antonio ISD parent Graciella Kramez.

She said her family needs further clarification on how the kits would be used.

KSAT reached out to District 25 State Sen. Donna Campbell, who sponsored the Texas Child I.D. Kits for Safe Recovery Act of 2021, SB 2158, which mandates the kits be released in public schools.

In a statement, Campbell said the kits “do not enter a database; and are only turned over to law enforcement in the event of a disappearance or exploitation - saving critical early hours needed to safely return a child home.”

Campbell said the kits are not in response to the Uvalde tragedy that happened nearly five months ago. She said she hopes the free kits “…provide a peace of mind to parents.”

The identification kits are voluntary cards parents would fill out at home and keep at home.


About the Authors:

Allysa Cole is a news reporter at KSAT 12. She joined the station in September 2022. She previously worked in the Rio Grande Valley at KGBT, KRGV and Azteca Valle. She started her career at WHPM FOX23 in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, after graduating from University of Southern Mississippi. Allysa is a Detroit native.

Adam Barraza is a photojournalist at KSAT 12 and an El Paso native. He interned at KVIA, the local ABC affiliate, while still in high school. He then moved to San Antonio and, after earning a degree from San Antonio College and the University of the Incarnate Word, started working in news. He’s also a diehard Dodgers fan and an avid sneakerhead.