Kids+Animals Forced to Use RFID Chips

Using  rational basis scrutiny for constitutional law under health, welfare and safety, a Federal judge in Texas decided that a school district can force kids to wear locator chips that “only work inside the school.” [Judge may have used  religion as a non issue, see following story #2 below]

The problem we start to see with ANIMALS– animal rights FORCING MICROCHIPS USE by making it MANDATORY— is carried over to kids, drunk drivers, prisoners and apparently now STUDENTS.

Ankle bracelets for those convicted of CRIMES is one thing– but when used for the safety, health and welfare of the school district, we are not seeing the logic, and we have never seen the mandated use for animals EITHER.

These FORCED regulations are only a stepping stone from some other reason to monitor and  use surveillance on the general public and their property.  If a tracking device cannot be put on your car without a very excellent reason, or your telephone in the house, surely there must be a better way of getting kids into their classrooms? It would seem the students should have some other motivation other than being tracked like criminals.

#1:Texas school can force teenagers to wear locator chip: judge

By Jim Forsyth | Reuters –Jan 8 2013

SAN ANTONIO (Reuters) – A public school district in Texas can require students to wear locator chips when they are on school property, a federal judge ruled on Tuesday in a case raising technology-driven privacy concerns among liberal and conservative groups alike.

U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia said the San Antonio Northside School District had the right to expel sophomore Andrea Hernandez, 15, from a magnet school at Jay High School, because she refused to wear the device, which is required of all students.

The judge refused the student’s request to block the district from removing her from the school while the case works its way through the federal courts.

The American Civil Liberties Union is among the rights organizations to oppose the district’s use of radio frequency identification, or RFID, technology.

“We don’t want to see this kind of intrusive surveillance infrastructure gain inroads into our culture,” ACLU senior policy analyst Jay Stanley said. “We should not be teaching our children to accept such an intrusive surveillance technology.”  The district’s RFID policy has also been criticized by conservatives, who call it an example of “big government” further monitoring individuals and eroding their liberties and privacy rights.

The Rutherford Institute, a conservative Virginia-based policy center that represented Hernandez in her federal court case, said the ruling violated the student’s constitutional right to privacy, and vowed to appeal.

The school district – the fourth largest in Texas with about 100,000 students – is not attempting to track or regulate students’ activities, or spy on them, district spokesman Pascual Gonzalez said. Northside is using the technology to locate students who are in the school building but not in the classroom when the morning bell rings, he said.

Texas law counts a student present for purposes of distributing state aid to education funds based on the number of pupils in the classroom at the start of the day. Northside said it was losing $1.7 million a year due to students loitering in the stairwells or chatting in the hallways.

The software works only within the walls of the school building, cannot track the movements of students, and does not allow students to be monitored by third parties, Gonzalez said.

The ruling gave Hernandez and her father, an outspoken opponent of the use of RFID technology, until the start of the spring semester later this month to decide whether to accept district policy and remain at the magnet school or return to her home campus, where RFID chips are not required.

#2:  Judge: School can move girl in ID-tracking case

Associated Press – 5 hrs ago

SAN ANTONIO (AP) — A Texas school district can [force] a transfer of  a student who is citing religious reasons for her refusal to wear an identification card that is part of an electronic tracking system, a federal judge ruled on Tuesday.

The parents of 15-year-old Andrea Hernandez had requested a preliminary injunction that would have prevented the school district from transferring their daughter from her San Antonio high school while the lawsuit on whether she should be forced to wear the tracking badge went through federal court.

Last fall, the Northside Independent School District began experimenting with “locator” chips in student ID badges on two campuses, allowing administrators to track the whereabouts of 4,200 students with GPS-like precision.

Administrators say the chips make students safer and will help boost attendance records that are used to calculate badly needed state funding.

Hernandez’s suit against Northside — the fourth-largest school district in Texas — argues that the ID rule violates her religious beliefs. Her family says the badge is a “mark of the beast” that goes against their religion.

But U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia on Tuesday denied a request to stop her from being transferred, saying the badge requirement “has an incidental effect, if any, on (Hernandez’s) religious beliefs.”

Garcia also wrote in his 25-page ruling that because Hernandez has worn a previous ID badge for several years, her refusal to wear the new badge “is clearly a secular choice, rather than a religious concern.”

Garcia said that if Hernandez does not accept the school district’s accommodation of wearing a badge without the tracking chip, the district can transfer her to another campus.

In a statement, the district said Hernandez, a sophomore, and her family have until Jan. 22, the start of the second semester, to decide if Hernandez will accept the compromise and thus be allowed to stay at the magnet school she is attending or be transferred to her home campus.

“Today’s court ruling affirms (the district’s) position that we did make reasonable accommodation to the student by offering to remove the RFID chip from the student’s smart ID badge,” according to the school district’s statement.

John Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute, a Virginia-based civil rights group that is representing Hernandez and her family in court, said his organization plans to appeal the judge’s ruling.

Whitehead said he expects Hernandez and her family will not accept the school district’s compromise of wearing a badge without the tracking chip.

Whitehead believes the judge was incorrect in saying that Hernandez’s refusal to wear the badge is not grounded in her religious beliefs and that prior Supreme Court rulings have indicated that government officials can’t be arbiters of religious beliefs.

“To them this is a very strong religious moral issue. … I believe their religious beliefs are protected because they are sincere,” he said.

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