Student Appeals to Higher Court After Ruling That ‘Mark of Beast’ RFID Card Doesn’t Infringe on Religious Rights

You might have seen TheBlaze’s previous coverage of the Texas school debuting a new student ID system that used technology to track the location of students to improve safety and attendance — and the subsequent lawsuit brought on by a student who was suspended for refusing to wear the RFID (radio-frequency identification) card.

The saga continues.

Just last week a federal judge ruled that sophomore Andrea Hernandez’s religious rights were not infringed upon by the requirement that she wear the card, which thus upheld her suspension from school for refusing to do so. Only a few days later, the Rutherford Institute, the civil rights organization helping Hernandez with her case, filed another appeal to the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans.

Wired reported that Hernandez, who for religious reasons does not want to wear the ID card, regardless of the RFID chip. She has compared it to the “mark of the beast.”

Renderings of the RFID cards used at the Northside schools in its pilot program. (Image: Northside ISD)

In the latest court decision, the 15-year-old’s suspension from John Jay High School would continue, but the Northside ISD offered to reassign Hernandez to another school were the RFID card system is not in place. Hernandez has refused this and in the latest appeal asks that her suspension be lifted until the case is officially decided upon.

“The Supreme Court has made clear that government officials may not scrutinize or question the validity of an individual’s religious beliefs,” John Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute, in a statement. “By declaring Andrea Hernandez’s objections to be a secular choice and not grounded in her religious beliefs, the district court has placed itself as an arbiter of what is and is not religious. This is simply not permissible under our constitutional scheme, and we will appeal this case all the way to the Supreme Court, if necessary.”

My San Antonio reported that the district estimates legal costs for the case will be tens of thousands of dollars. Given this would be absorbed by Northside ISD taxpayers, the district has said it would seek that the plaintiff pay the costs.

Watch this video from Eye Opener, which takes a look at both side of the issue: