Judge stops school from expelling girl who refused to wear tracking device
Andrea Hernandez was told she’d be expelled from John Jay High School’s Science and Engineering Academy in San Antonio starting next week if she insists any further on disobeying a new policy that requires students to wear ID badges equipped with tiny Radio Frequency Identification (“RFID”) chips. Now attorneys with the Rutherford Institute say Hernandez has been granted a temporary restraining order that will prohibit the Northside Independent School District from relocating the student to another facility.
“The court’s willingness to grant a temporary restraining order is a good first step, but there is still a long way to go — not just in this case, but dealing with the mindset, in general, that everyone needs to be monitored and controlled,” Rutherford Institute President John Whitehead says in a statement.
“Regimes in the past have always started with the schools, where they develop a compliant citizenry. These ‘Student Locator’ programs are ultimately aimed at getting students used to living in a total surveillance state where there will be no privacy, and wherever you go and whatever you text or email will be watched by the government.”
Starting in September, students at John Jay and one other area school were asked to wear ID badges that broadcast their location so educators can keep more accurate attendance records and, ideally, be provided with more funding. Hernandez refused to cooperate right off the bat, however, a maneuver that she said landed her in hot water with educators almost immediately.
"I had a teacher tell me I would not be allowed to vote because I did not have the proper voter ID," she told WND. "I had my old student ID card which they originally told us would be good for the entire four years we were in school. He said I needed the new ID with the chip in order to vote."
Earlier this month, the parents of John Jay students were told that pupils are required to carry the badges, and that Hernandez would be expelled starting Nov. 26 if she continues to protest.
“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,” Whitehead said after the school issued their warning.
“By virtue of the First Amendment, students in our society are at liberty to conscientiously choose which governmental programs they will support and which they will oppose. It’s a sad day in America when school officials deny someone an education simply because she stands up for what she believes in.”
According to San Antonio’s KENS5 News, a judge gave Hernandez a temporary restraining order from the school district and ruled on Wednesday that the principal's orders to make the surveillance mandatory were a violation of the student's speech and religion. On her part, she equates wearing a badge — RFID equipped or not — with the biblical “mark of the beast.”
A hearing on the preliminary injunction will take place next week, at which point the future of the tracking program will be brought into question.