A student who was expelled from her magnet school program when she refused the district’s plan to microchip students is being reinstated after the district dropped the student-tracking strategy.
Andrea Hernandez was defended by the Rutherford Institute against the Northside Independent School District in San Antonio, Texas.
Constitutional attorney and institute president John W. Whitehead said Hernandez is returning this fall to the John Jay High School’s Science and Engineering Academy. Her first day back will be Aug. 26.
Hernandez was expelled from the program after raising religious freedom and privacy objections to the district’s “Student Locator Project,” which used RFID badges to enable officials to track students’ every move on campus.
After a long court fight, district officials announced they would stop using the RFID tracking badges. They cited low participation rates and negative publicity.
“Whether you’re talking about NSA surveillance, SWAT team raids on organic farmers, or young people being chipped, tracked and treated like criminals, it’s all too easy to get discouraged when faced with a government that not only refuses to listen but steadfastly continues to undermine the Constitution,” said Whitehead.
“There are very few happy endings for those who stand up to the government and say ‘no more.’ Hopefully, Andrea Hernandez will prove to be the exception and will use this opportunity to continue to stand strong for freedom.”
The district launched its tracking program one year ago with the stated goal of boosting public funding by raising student attendance rates.
“As part of the pilot program, roughly 4,200 students at Jay High School and Jones Middle School were required to wear ‘SmartID’ card badges embedded with an RFID tracking chip which made it possible for school officials to track students’ whereabouts on campus at all times,” Rutherford explained.
School officials hoped to expand the program to the district’s 112 schools.
But Hernandez, 15, a Christian, said the badge posed a significant religious freedom concern in addition to the obvious privacy issues.
When she objected and asked to opt out, she was threatened with, “There will be consequences for refusal to wear an ID card.”
Rutherford joined her fight and eventually filed a legal action against the district.
“It has been a long road and rocky at times, but with our faith in the Lord we were able to prevail,” said Andrea’s father, Steve Hernandez. “The Rutherford Institute and Jerri Ward did an outstanding job in our case and deserve wonderful recognition for all they have helped us accomplish in this matter, they are true American patriots.
WND has reported on the case since it developed. Andrea and her father testified they believed the electronic system was a sign of the antichrist described in the New Testament book of Revelation.