Judge Rules on Student Tracking Devices
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    Default Judge Rules on Student Tracking Devices

    Texas School Tracking IDs Can Be Required Of Students, Judge Rules






    SAN ANTONIO -- A Texas school district can transfer a student who is citing religious reasons for her refusal to wear an identification card that is part of an electronic tracking system, a federal judge ruled on Tuesday.
    The parents of 15-year-old Andrea Hernandez had requested a preliminary injunction that would have prevented the school district from transferring their daughter from her San Antonio high school while the lawsuit on whether she should be forced to wear the tracking badge went through federal court.
    Last fall, the Northside Independent School District began experimenting with "locator" chips in student ID badges on two campuses, allowing administrators to track the whereabouts of 4,200 students with GPS-like precision.
    Administrators say the chips make students safer and will help boost attendance records that are used to calculate badly needed state funding.
    Hernandez's suit against Northside ? the fourth-largest school district in Texas ? argues that the ID rule violates her religious beliefs. Her family says the badge is a "mark of the beast" that goes against their religion.
    But U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia on Tuesday denied a request to stop her from being transferred, saying the badge requirement "has an incidental effect, if any, on (Hernandez's) religious beliefs."
    Garcia also wrote in his 25-page ruling that because Hernandez has worn a previous ID badge for several years, her refusal to wear the new badge "is clearly a secular choice, rather than a religious concern."
    Garcia said that if Hernandez does not accept the school district's accommodation of wearing a badge without the tracking chip, the district can transfer her to another campus.
    In a statement, the district said Hernandez, a sophomore, and her family have until Jan. 22, the start of the second semester, to decide if Hernandez will accept the compromise and thus be allowed to stay at the magnet school she is attending or be transferred to her home campus.
    "Today's court ruling affirms (the district's) position that we did make reasonable accommodation to the student by offering to remove the RFID chip from the student's smart ID badge," according to the school district's statement.
    John Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute, a Virginia-based civil rights group that is representing Hernandez and her family in court, said his organization plans to appeal the judge's ruling.
    Whitehead said he expects Hernandez and her family will not accept the school district's compromise of wearing a badge without the tracking chip.
    Whitehead believes the judge was incorrect in saying that Hernandez's refusal to wear the badge is not grounded in her religious beliefs and that prior Supreme Court rulings have indicated that government officials can't be arbiters of religious beliefs.
    "To them this is a very strong religious moral issue. ... I believe their religious beliefs are protected because they are sincere," he said.


    Are her religious freedoms being infringed upon? Is the school/Judges compromise reasonable?
    Last edited by Potter75; 01-14-2013 at 01:03 PM. Reason: To fix bad cut and paste, for posterity.

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    Posting Addict KimPossible's Avatar
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    They seem reasonable to me.

    They offered to take the chip out. And if she doesn't like that she can go to a school that doesn't have those requirements.

    I'm intrigued by this religious belief. I'd be interested in knowing more. Like what the belief is specifically and why she used to wear an ID and it didn't conflict with her beliefs then.

    The whole thing sounds weird to me.

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    Even though I sound super cynical, it seems to me like they were using religious belief as a way to get out of the student wearing it because they don't like it. I would be curious to read on that religious belief too.



    I still think that these are an awesome idea! Wish we could get them here!
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    Posting Addict KimPossible's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by smsturner View Post
    I still think that these are an awesome idea! Wish we could get them here!
    Really? I admit it kind of creeps me out. I get the safety aspect of it, and i do like safety but I don't know...seems too invasive to me. Makes me uncomfortable.

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    An explanation on the Religious aspect of it in my own unpolished words.

    In the last book of the Bible in Revelation there is Prophecy of what the world will be like in the end times. That prophecy speaks of an identification number that you need to have to do pretty much anything. Buy food, go to school, be out in public without being arrested and other examples. The problem is that if you are unwilling to renounce Jesus, you will be denied the identification mark and arrested.

    For a much better understanding watch the movie "Left Behind" starring Curt Cameron.

    What I feel about this case though is that in the prophecy the chip is implanted in your person, not on an identification card that can be taken on and off. While I understand how this is a valid religious objection, I would not object to wearing a badge with a chip on it, how ever I would object to a chip being implanted under someone's skin.

    ~Bonita~

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    Quote Originally Posted by AlyssaEimers View Post
    An explanation on the Religious aspect of it in my own unpolished words.

    In the last book of the Bible in Revelation there is Prophecy of what the world will be like in the end times. That prophecy speaks of an identification number that you need to have to do pretty much anything. Buy food, go to school, be out in public without being arrested and other examples. The problem is that if you are unwilling to renounce Jesus, you will be denied the identification mark and arrested.

    For a much better understanding watch the movie "Left Behind" starring Curt Cameron.

    What I feel about this case though is that in the prophecy the chip is implanted in your person, not on an identification card that can be taken on and off. While I understand how this is a valid religious objection, I would not object to wearing a badge with a chip on it, how ever I would object to a chip being implanted under someone's skin.
    But she was offered an ID badge without a chip and still refused even then? So is she saying that they have an objection to ID badges in general now? A new objection obviously since she used to wear one.

    All still seems confusing to me.


    ETA: And no one is requiring she denounce Jesus or get arrested so I don't really see how this could be mistaken as something fulfilling this prophecy anyway.
    Last edited by KimPossible; 01-14-2013 at 11:25 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KimPossible View Post

    ETA: And no one is requiring she denounce Jesus or get arrested so I don't really see how this could be mistaken as something fulfilling this prophecy anyway.
    I doubt that anyone could go from the government that we have to day to anything like that overnight. It would have to be little by little over many, many years. I personally do not have any objection to ID badges, but you can not say that it is not against anyone's religion because it is against some. Just because something is not against your religion, does not mean it is not against anyones.

    ~Bonita~

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    Quote Originally Posted by AlyssaEimers View Post
    I doubt that anyone could go from the government that we have to day to anything like that overnight. It would have to be little by little over many, many years. I personally do not have any objection to ID badges, but you can not say that it is not against anyone's religion because it is against some. Just because something is not against your religion, does not mean it is not against anyones.
    Sure. I suppose anything could be against someones religion. I mean if someone is against vinyl tile floors, should a school resurface their floors? If someone is against modern plumbing, should they rip it out or provide outhouses? If they choose to go all electronic someday and decide to stop using textbooks and someones religion is against that, do they need to keep textbooks then? If someone is against their daughters learning science and math do we excuse those requirements for them?

    I don't know...just wondering how we draw the line here. Between what type of religious accommodation we make and which ones we don't.

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    If it is a reasonable rule of the school and no accommodation can be made, then it is up to her to find an alternative. Most people that I know that have religions objections either send their kids to private school or homeschool. What I was saying is that it is a real religious objection, not something they just made up.
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    ~Bonita~

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    Posting Addict KimPossible's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlyssaEimers View Post
    If it is a reasonable rule of the school and no accommodation can be made, then it is up to her to find an alternative. Most people that I know that have religions objections either send their kids to private school or homeschool. What I was saying is that it is a real religious objection, not something they just made up.
    Only reason i question that they made it up is because she used to have an ID according to the article. So I'm not sure why an ID without the chip now is still objectionable. Maybe their religious beliefs changed...thats the only explanation that would make sense to me. But I really don't know what the purpose of making it up would be for so who knows.

    I agree with the bold but i guess it would have to be a case by case basis as to what is worthy of exception and what is not. Or what kinds of accommodations make sense given the effort and what ones don't. I sort of wish there was a clearly defined line to draw, but maybe there isn't

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