Tags: track | student | rfid | court

High School Can Continue Tracking Student Using RFID Chip, Says Federal Court

Wednesday, 09 Jan 2013 02:15 PM

By Dale Eisinger

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A student at a Texas high school who claimed that having to wear an ID badge with a radio frequency tracking device violated her religious rights will have to learn to accessorize the device after losing a legal battle over it in federal court.

Andrea Hernandez, a sophomore at John Jay High School in San Antonio, was notified in November that unless she wore the student ID card, linked to her social security number and used to track her movements throughout the building, she would no longer be able to attend the school. The Northside Independent School District in San Antonio began issuing the ID cards to all students at the beginning of the fall semester.

Hernandez and her family claimed the ID is equivalent to Satan's "Mark of the Beast" that the book of Revelations warns of in passages 13:16-18.

Her family sued, and a judge let the 15-year-old stay in school. But the court reversed the decision after the school district allowed the family to remove the RFID chip from the badge.

That still wasn’t good enough for the Hernandez family, which claimed wearing the badge at all violated their doctrine.

"We must obey the word of God," Hernandez's dad said, according to court documents. "By asking my daughter and our family to participate and fall in line like the rest of them is asking us to disobey our Lord and Savior."

The court disagreed on Tuesday, writing, "The accommodation offered by the district is not only reasonable it removes plaintiff's religious objection from legal scrutiny all together."

The organization that represented Hernandez wrote that they wouldn't stand for the conclusion.

"By declaring Andrea Hernandez's objections to be a secular choice and not grounded in her religious beliefs," the representative said, "the district court is placing itself as an arbiter of what is and is not religious. This is simply not permissible under our constitutional scheme, and we plan to appeal this immediately."

Privacy advocates are concerned about RFID tracking devices, though not on religious grounds. Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla., revealed this week that is will be implementing a digital bracelet called MyMagic+ that, among other things, uses radio frequency IDs to track where park visitors are.

Katherine Albrecht, author of the book "Spychips," told the International Business Times that using the technology in the Disney World setting could normalize it elsewhere.

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