January 10, 2013
SAN ANTONIO, Texas — Attorneys for The Rutherford Institute have filed a notice of appeal to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals on behalf of a 15-year-old Texas public school student who was essentially expelled over her refusal to wear a chipless RFID tracking badge based on her sincere religious beliefs that it represents the “mark of the Beast.”
The Rutherford Institute’s appeal asks that Andrea Hernandez be permitted to continue attending the science and engineering magnet school housed in John Jay High School until the case is decided. The appeal comes in response to a January 8 ruling by U.S. District Judge Orlando L. Garcia for the Western District of Texas in San Antonio denying Hernandez’s request for a preliminary injunction on the grounds that the sophomore’s refusal to wear the chipless RFID tracking badge is “not grounded in her religious beliefs” and is a “secular choice rather than a religious concern.” The badges, part of John Jay High School’s “Student Locator Project,” include tiny Radio Frequency Identification (“RFID”) chips that produce a radio signal, enabling school officials to track students’ location on school property.
In coming to Andrea’s defense, Rutherford attorneys have alleged that the school’s attempts to penalize, discriminate and retaliate against Andrea violate her rights under Texas’ Religious Freedom Act and the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.