Article brought to you by: Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Students who refused microchip surveillance at Texas school punished

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
October 10th, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Students at John Jay High School and Anson Jones Middle School in San Antonio, Texas who refuse to carry microchip-embedded ID cards with them at all times - in an effort to stem truancy which is costing the schools money - say they are being barred from activities and are being ostracized as a result.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The policy went into effect at the beginning of this month. Students are now required to wear photo ID cards that are equipped with radio-frequency identification chips. If successful, the cards would become mandatory in 112 schools for 100,000 students.

Students are required to carry the card in their pocket or wear them around their necks. Students who refuse to wear the cards now say they are being tormented by instructors are barred from participating in certain school functions. Some say they were turned away from common areas like cafeterias and libraries.

John Jay sophomore Andrea Hernandez says that the instructors there have ignored her pleas to respect her privacy. She says that they have told her she cannot participate in school elections if she refuses to comply with the tracking program.

In an interview, Hernandez says that subjecting herself to constant monitoring through an RFID chip is like being branded with the "mark of the beast" - a reference to the Bible's apocalyptic Book of Revelations.

She said that she was threatened with not being allowed to vote for her school's homecoming king and queen for disobeying the student ID rule.

"I had a teacher tell me I would not be allowed to vote because I did not have the proper voter ID," Hernandez says. "I had my old student ID card which they originally told us would be good for the entire four years we were in school. He said I needed the new ID with the chip in order to vote."

Deputy Superintendent Ray Galindo issued a statement to the girl's parents which said "We are simply asking your daughter to wear an ID badge as every other student and adult on the Jay campus is asked to do."

Galindo says that the repercussions will only become harsher than just revoking voting rights for homecoming contests once the school makes location-monitoring mandatory.

"I urge you to accept this solution so that your child's instructional program will not be affected. As we discussed, there will be consequences for refusal to wear an ID card as we begin to move forward with full implementation," Galindo wrote.

Steve Hernandez, Andrea's father says that the school was somewhat willing to work with his daughter, but said that the family is unwilling to "agree to stop criticizing the program" and publically endorse it.

"I told him that was unacceptable because it would imply an endorsement of the district's policy and my daughter and I should not have to give up our constitutional rights to speak out against a program that we feel is wrong," Hernandez says.

Article brought to you by: Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)