August 23 2013
Civil Liberties Win in San Antonio
Vicki E. Alger
Last year Andrea Hernadez and her family refused to back down over their San Antonio school’s forced micro-chipping policy, which required students to wear identification cards equipped with tracking chips or face expulsion.
Some 4,200 Jay High School and Jones Middle School students were required to wear ‘SmartID’ card badges embedded with radio frequency identification (RFID) tracking chips. The program was supposed to be implemented district-wide, 112 schools altogether.
Hundreds of students and members of the community protested, and the Rutherford Institute stepped in to defend the Hernandezes, who objected over privacy and religious concerns.
Earlier this year a federal district court ruled that Andrea Hernandez’s religious rights were not compromised because school officials offered to remove her ID card’s chip. Ms. Hernandez objected because simply wearing a deactivated card made it appear that she supported a policy that violated her personal and religious beliefs.
The SmartID policy was implemented largely to boost revenue, since school funding is based on attendance. Ironically enough, the school ultimately expelled Ms. Hernandez, a top performing student.
But as World News Daily reports, the district finally threw in the towel:
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.
Ms. Herenandez and her family reaffirm what is possible when we maintain the courage of our convictions and doggedly defend our liberties—even when those in positions of authority oppose us. After all, our greatest defense as Americans is our Constitution—not some microchip.