Judge Orlando Garcia ruled that a student attending classes at a Northside Independent School District campus would face transfer out of the magnet school unless the student begins wearing the identification badge by Jan. 22. The 15-year-old student said wearing the badge, which contained a tracking chip allowing administrators to physically track her whereabouts while on campus, violated her religious beliefs. However, the judge denied a request that would have halted her transferal, saying her decision was a “secular choice, rather than a religious concern.”
The school district, the 4th-largest in Texas, began using radio frequency identification (RFID) chips in student identification badges last fall. District representatives state that badges help increase overall attendance, which is factored into how much funding the district can procure from the state.
The school district has offered to allow the student to wear an identification badge without the locator chip, while John Whitehead, president of the Rutherford Institute, says his organization plans on appealing the ruling.
“To them this is a very strong religious moral issue,” he told the Huffington Post. “I believe their religious beliefs are protected because they are sincere.”
Photo by Lacy Atkins.