A federal court in Texas on Monday will hear the case of high-school student Andrea Hernandez, who is fighting the requirement to wear a school ID embedded with a radio frequency tracking device.
The 15 year old student believes the ID is “the mark of the beast” from the Book of Revelation.
At the center of the controversy is John Jay High School in San Antonio and the Northside Independent School District.
Over the summer the school announced its intention to implement the new device, which helps the school track whether or not a student is on campus.
“The mark of the beast is what the Antichrist is going to use so he can track the people,” Hernandez says.
Not all the parents shared Hernandez’s opinion about the Antichrist, but there were others who shared concerns about the privacy rights of the students.
John Whitehead, a lawyer with the Rutherford Institute in Virginia, is representing the Hernandez family in federal court.
“They’re just not going to do it. I deal with a lot of religious folks. Anything endorsing something they feel is unconstitutional or that violates their religion, they’re just not going to do. So the easiest thing for the school here is to opt out,” Whitehead said on an NPR radio broadcast. “The problem is, when we got involved in the case and a lot of publicity erupted and a lot of other people have joined in now, so the school is probably going to fight this or the program itself is going to be up for grabs.”
Whitehead is arguing for the school to allow Andrea Hernandez to opt out of having to carry the locator chip. The district will accommodate her as long as she wears the new ID without the chip. She is fighting to wear her old school ID badge.
According to NPR news, this is about money for the school district. Texas school districts are “desperately underfunded.”
“The school district receives federal funding based upon the number of students who are in attendance each day at school,” Craig Wood, the lawyer for the Northside Independent School District told NPR radio. “Given that we’ve got a crisis in educational funding in the state of Texas, we’re trying to recapture every dollar that we can in order to try to do more and more with fewer and fewer resources.”
According to NPR, the chip program is costing Northside $500,000. The amount expected to be gained by using the tracking device is about $1.7 million from the federal government.
According to NPR the chips have been introduced in a school district near Houston without opposition.