Parents in Texas were floored when their children as young as seven came home from school with a pamphlet on how to help officials identify them after a tragedy. As school shootings become more and more common in states where gun laws are lax, such as Texas, school administrators are pulling out all the stops to prevent violence and keep children safe from shooters and other tragedies. However, this particular school might have gone a little too far.
Joanna McFarland Owusu, a parent and writer, penned an op-ed detailing how alarming it was to receive the pamphlet from her child’s school. In the event of a disaster at school, this pamphlet instructs parents on how to identify their young children by birthmarks and other distinguishing features.
The pamphlet that McFarland Owusu’s seven-year-old child brought home detailed the program known as the “National Child Identification Program,” which is designed to help protect children in case of an emergency. This program is particularly popular in the state of Texas where school shootings happen quite often.
“She handed it to me with a bewildered look on her face and opened it to show me a page with slots for her fingerprints, one box for each finger. She said she supposed we needed to fill this out,” McFarland Owusu said.
In response to the Uvalde shooting on May, 24 nineteen students and two teachers tragically lost their lives, this pamphlet seeks to explain why these senseless shootings occur. Oftentimes, the shooters have easy access to guns which is made possible by states with lax gun laws. The shooter in Texas had no good reason for killing all those people – they were simply intent on hurting as many innocent people as possible.
The pamphlet was sent out in response to the Uvalde school shooting, but the program actually originated before that incident occurred. The National Child Identification Program can help school officials identify children in the case of a tragedy, but it is also useful to find missing or kidnapped children. This system is necessary in Texas as crimes like these happen often.
In an abundance of caution, the school sent home pamphlets due to the increasing frequency of school shootings in Texas. McFarland Owusu wrote that the “rage is crushing and all-consuming and feels like lava coursing through my veins.”
The pamphlets show images of naked genderless children and instruct parents to identify and record “distinguishing birthmarks, moles, scars, previously broken bones and prosthetics” on their child so the little one could be more easily identified in the event of a tragedy. With tragic events becoming more common in Texas, it is important for parents to take these precautions.
McFarland Owusu stated: “I choked up as I realized what I was meant to do. I was to label the figure with any birthmarks, moles, scars, or other distinguishing feature on my child, so that her body could be identified, if, for example, her face was blown off by an assault weapon.”