A high school student in Texas has lost a federal court appeal against her school’s identification policy and will now be required to wear an identity tag at her school — without the RFID capability — or transfer to a new one, Wired reports.
Andrea Hernandez, a sophomore John Jay High School, made headlines last year when she objected to a new policy that saw the Northside Independent School District in San Antonio outfit all students across its 112 schools with the ID badges, which monitor their movements in campus.
The system was introduced to give the school clearer information about which students are attending, since its funding is related to attendance numbers. However, Hernandez argued that the badge was the “Mark of the Beast” — a warning from Revelation 13:16-18 — and she subsequently sued the authorities.
While the student won a temporary injunction back in November that allowed her to continue her studies at the school without the badge, the federal court ruling has overturned that. The court ruled that Hernandez’s right of religion was not breached since district authorities relented by allowing her to remove the RFID from the ID badge, on the condition that she would wear it while on campus.
“The accommodation offered by the district is not only reasonable it removes plaintiff’s religious objection from legal scrutiny all together,” said U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia in a circular (PDF).
The Rutherford Institute, which represented Hernandez, says it will appeal the decision:
By declaring Andrea Hernandez’s objections to be a secular choice and not grounded in her religious beliefs, the district court is placing itself as an arbiter of what is and is not religious. This is simply not permissible under our constitutional scheme, and we plan to appeal this immediately,” the institute said in statement.
Hernandez now has until January 18 to decide whether she will perform an about turn and wear the badge — sans RFID — or get transferred to a new school.
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