Readers may want to break out the civil liberties pitchforks in response to a new court case against a Texas high school that suspended a student for refusing to wear an ID badge implanted with a location tracking microchip. A court has temporarily blocked The Northside Independent School District from suspending high school sophomore, Andrea Hernandez, for her noncompliance with a neck badge that monitors student movement throughout the campus via a Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) chip.
According to the Rutherford Institute, the student’s legal civil liberties defense organization, tracking students is about raking in sweet, sweet government cash, since school funding is closely tied to attendance. “School administrators are hoping that if the school district is able to increase attendance by tracking the students’ whereabouts, they will be rewarded with up to $1.7 million from the state government,” the institute said in a statement, referring to the amount of money lost due to unaccounted attendance rates.
Hernandez has objected to the monitoring tag on religious grounds, arguing that the technology is eerily close to the satanic ‘mark of the beast’ alluded to in revelations Revelations 13: 16-18. On Wednesday, a judge granted the student a temporary reprieve from the suspension. “There is something fundamentally disturbing about this school district’s insistence on steamrolling students into complying with programs that have nothing whatsoever to do with academic priorities and everything to do with fattening school coffers,” said Rutherford president, John Whitehead.
The school argues that in addition to location monitoring, the ID card is also necessary for essential services, such as the cafeteria, the library, and getting tickets to extracurricular activities. Apparently, the alluring draw of soggy french fries, homework, and winter formals wasn’t enough for Hernandez to forgo her religious convictions.
Just in case you thought this issue couldn’t get any more interesting, the district did agree to allow Hernandez to remove the chip, in exchange for her father’s public silence.
In essence, the school district thought the family would be cool trading in the First and Fourth Amendments, for the right to education. Given the family’s continued vocal opposition, they were mistaken.