Andrea Hernandez Stands Firm, Asks School Officials to Respect Her Religious Objections to RFID Tracking Program, Let Her Use Old Badge & Stay in School
January 18, 2013
SAN ANTONIO, Texas —Complying with a court order to provide school officials with a written decision as to whether or not she will agree to wear an RFID tracking badge to school, Andrea Hernandez has asked school officials at John Jay High School to allow her to continue her “education uninterrupted” by permitting her to use her old ID badge which “does not signify participation in a program which I believe conflicts with my religious beliefs.” The new badges, part of John Jay High School’s “Student Locator Project,” include tiny chips that produce a radio signal, enabling school officials to track students’ location on school property.
Hernandez, who was threatened with expulsion for refusing to wear a chipless RFID tracking badge based on her sincere religious beliefs that it represents the “mark of the Beast,” had her request for a preliminary injunction denied by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals and the Western District of Texas. In coming to Andrea’s defense, Rutherford Institute attorneys 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.
“John Jay High School has been given an opportunity to do the right thing and take the high road by letting this young woman stay in school and accommodating her religious beliefs by letting her use her old badge—which is what she’s been doing for weeks now with no negative consequences. In the process, the school can send a message to the community that they’re willing to put the students first, which would be a win-win for the school,” said John W. Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute. “If they choose to kick Andrea out, they’ll give us no choice but to go back to court, which—win or lose—will still be a win for Andrea, because she won’t be forced to compromise her beliefs and she’ll learn a valuable, if painful, lesson about the price one must sometimes pay for freedom.”