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Cleveland Elementary students safer with identification kits

Students at Cleveland Elementary School are a little bit safer today, after the union for America’s autoworkers distributed child identification kits to each of their students.
The kits, which include a finger print kit, DNA kit and a wallet card, will be sent home with students for their parents to complete and keep.
Corey Hill, president for the union local 3520 described the kit as “a true way for identification that you can keep in your home.”
According to the National Child ID Program, each year 450,000 children run away from home, 300,000 are abducted by family members and 58,000 are abducted by non-family members.
The identification kits give parents the opportunity to have their child’s fingerprints and DNA samples on hand if the need ever arises, but avoids inputting the information into a national database, which many parents feel is a breach of privacy.
The families keep it in their home, Hill said.
“There’s no pressure,” he added.
But if a child goes missing, though, law enforcement can immediately use those prints, DNA samples and photos, rather wasting valuable time collecting fingerprints, DNA and photos from the child’s home.
That “immediate feedback” could save a child’s life, said Cleveland Elementary Principal Rebecca Lee said, adding, “Minutes could make a difference — seconds, really.”
“That’s the great thing about it,” she said.
Fingerprints and DNA stay the same over time, but parents are advised to update the photo of their child every other year.
Hill said with cellphones, however, this is less of an issue, because parents have very recent photos.
“So many families wouldn’t think about it,” Lee said.
“I think our parents will do it,” she said.
“It’s something you’d hope you’d never need,” Hill said, adding, “I’m just glad they’ll have it at home if they need it.”
“It’s an excellent program,” Lee said.
Hill said the union distributed 732 identification kits earlier this year to its employees for their children and grandchildren.
Hill said it was important for the union to invest in the schools in their “own backyard.”
Our workers spend their union dollars to have us invest in our community, he said.
The schools the union partners with are schools where their employees’ children attend. They want to invest in students, because they’re the future of this area.

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