Good luck sorting it all out, Your Honor.
Because she has a religious objection to Northside Independent School District’s new student tracking system, Andrea Hernandez and her father testified in federal court Monday, she should not be transferred to another school for refusing to carry a student I.D. badge.
Hernandez, 15, a sophomore in a science and engineering magnet program at John Jay High School, and her father, Steven Hernandez, each testified that they believe the tracking system — which uses radio frequency identification tags inserted in student badges — is a sign of submission to the Antichrist as described in the Bible’s Book of Revelation.
Northside began trying out the RFID technology at two schools this fall. It allows an attendance monitor to locate students at specific areas on campus in real time.
It’s a way to maximize state funding, which is partly based on daily attendance, to cope with budget cuts, Northside Superintendent Brian Woods told U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia. The system allows a more accurate count of which students are at school and could help locate individuals quickly in case of emergencies, Woods said.
Steven Hernandez teared up on the stand after reading a passage from the Bible and explaining how deeply he holds his faith on the issue. He said supporting the program “would compromise our salvation for NISD to make some money.”
Andrea told the judge that her educational goals would be harmed if she goes to Taft because she wouldn’t be able to take certain classes in pursuit of a career as an interface web designer. Garcia repeatedly asked Andrea and her father why she could not wear the badge with the chip removed. That would be “falling in line with the rest and showing support for the program,” Steven Hernandez testified.
After the hearing, when asked who he thought was assuming the role of the Antichrist, Steven Hernandez replied, “In this case, Northside is the Antichrist.”
Garcia said he would decide this week on Andrea’s request for a permanent injunction to keep her at Jay.