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School decides future of radio-chipping for students

Posted By Bob Unruh On 07/16/2013 @ 8:50 pm In Education,Faith,Front Page,Politics,U.S. | No Comments

A San Antonio, Texas, school district that expelled from a magnet school a sophomore girl who had religious objections to being radio-chipped for tracking and identification purposes now has decided to drop the program.

The Rutherford Institute, which has defended 15-year-old Andrea Hernandez, a Christian, said the decision “is proof that change is possible if Americans care enough to take a stand and make their discontent heard,” said

Constitutional attorney John W. Whitehead, president of Rutherford, said that as Hernandez demonstrated, “the best way to ensure that your government officials hear you is by never giving up, never backing down, and never remaining silent – even when things seem hopeless.”

The program had allowed school officials to track students’ location on school property at all times.

According to school officials, the decision to stop the Student Locator Project was due in part to low participation rates, negative publicity and the Rutherford Institute’s lawsuit.

See the real strategy behind RFID chips, and what marketers, criminals and the government could learn, in “Spychips.”

Hernandez was a sophomore at John Jay High School’s Science and Engineering Academy when she raised religious objections to the radio chip. She was expelled from the magnet school in January.

Both Andrea and her father, Steven Hernandez, testified they believed the electronic system was a sign of the antichrist described in the New Testament book of Revelation.

The Rutherford Institute said the question of whether Hernandez will be permitted to return to John Jay has yet to be resolved.

School officials declined multiple requests from WND for comment.

The Northside Independent School District launched the program last year
in an effort to increase public funding for the district by increasing student attendance rates.

Under the rules imposed by the district, about 4,200 students at Jay High School and Jones Middle School were required to wear “SmartID” card badges embedded with an RFID tracking chip.

The plan had been to spread the program to all 112 schools in the district eventually.

But Hernandez said the badge poses a significant religious freedom concern in addition to obvious privacy issues.

Her requests to opt out of the program, or use a chipless badge, were rejected.

The school required the radio identifier for students to access services such as the cafeteria and library.

A judge ultimately said in an opinion that Hernandez’ objections were not “grounded in her religious beliefs.”

But Whitehead noted the Supreme Court has made clear government officials are not allowed to question the validity of an individual’s religious beliefs.

Both Andrea and her father, Steven Hernandez, testified they believed the electronic system was a sign of the antichrist described in the New Testament book of Revelation.


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