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Kindergartners to bring home DNA identification kits

April 28, 2005|by KAREN HANNA

karenh@herald-mail.com

WASHINGTON COUNTY - Washington County kindergartners will return home Friday with an optional assignment designed for their safety.

According to Carol Mowen, public information officer for the schools, all 1,473 kindergartners in the county will receive kits to help aid identification in the event of an emergency.

The Travelers Protective Association of America, a national fraternal organization with a post in Washington County, bought the kits.

Allen Swope, a retired Maryland State Police commander, is co-coordinator of the DNA project.

Swope said the kits are optional. They contain directions for swabbing a child's mouth, an envelope and plastic bag, and a sheet for vital statistics. Parents who choose to use the items should keep them at home in a safe place, Swope said.

"That way it aids the police or anyone who is searching for the child, or needs to find the child," Swope said.

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According to Richard Long, a board member of the association and co-coordinator of the DNA project, volunteers from the Washington County Commission on Aging packed the kits, which cost 10 cents each plus freight.

The association approached the county Board of Education with the idea about 10 months ago, Long said.

Long and Swope hope to provide the kits each year to a new class of children.

"It's there if they want to, or need it, and that's the idea, if a child gets lost, or whatever happens, it's there to use it," Long said.

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