Americans who dare to venture out in public these days must do so by leaving their constitutional right to privacy at their front door. We are told that such widespread surveillance of virtually everything we say or do is necessary because, after all, our government lords and masters are only trying to “protect” us.
Now the insanity has spread to our taxpayer-funded public schools, and any student who refuses to go along will simply be punished. Such is the case in – of all places – Texas, where a student attending John Jay High School (a school named, ironically, after one of our country’s founding fathers and Chief Supreme Court Justices) in San Antonio has been expelled for refusing to wear a tracking device.
For months, Andrea Hernandez and her parents protested the school’s policy of requiring all students to wear an RFID (Radio Frequency Identification System)-enabled badge around their necks at all times. For months, Andrea refused to comply.
Now, she’s being “involuntarily withdrawn” from the school – expelled, in old vernacular – effective November 26, according to a letter sent by the district that has since been made public.
Refuse to comply without question, get punished
The letter, sent Nov. 13 and which has been posted online by Infowars.com, informs the student’s father that the Smart ID program, phased in with the new school year, is now in “full implementation.” That means all students are required to comply by wearing the badges, which are used to track a student’s location at all times.
But since Andrea is refusing to wear the badge, she’s being disenrolled from the magnet school and her advanced program at the Science and Engineering Academy within the school. Instead, she will have to attend William Howard Taft High School, which does not use the ID system, or change her position and agree to wear a tracker.
At the time of publication, Infowars.com reported that civil liberties lawyers at the Rutherford Institute said they were in the process of filing a temporary restraining order on behalf of Andrea to prevent the school from kicking her out until further appeals can be made in an attempt to resolve the matter.
The site said officials with the high school did not return calls seeking comment, but a spokesman for the district, Pasqual Gonzalez, told local NBC affiliate KSN that the campuses at John Jay suffer a high rate of truancy and tardiness, and that the electronic ID policy was implemented to improve attendance, which would result in an additional $2 million in government funding.
Backed by her family, Andrea is claiming the tracking policy not only infringes on her right to privacy, but is also a violation of her religious beliefs.
Just shut up and wear it
The controversial badges include a photo of the wearer along with their name, a bar code tied to the student’s social security number, and an RFID chip which provides the exact location of the student – including after school hours, when the student leaves school property.
The Hernandez family has been fighting the badge policy for months, having previously attended a number of school board meetings, organized protests and filed a number of formal grievances with the school district. Their actions have been backed by several civil rights groups.
The school offered to remove the battery and chip from the IDs, but otherwise wouldn’t budge on implementing them. School officials said that offer would include an agreement by the Hernandez family to stop publicly criticizing the IDs and even promote their use – something Steve Hernandez, Andrea’s father, could not abide.
“[A]s part of the accommodation my daughter and I would have to agree to stop criticizing the program and publicly support … it. I told [the Deputy Superintendent] 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,” he said.
His daughter has agreed to carry her old ID card, which was issued when the sophomore first enrolled there. Officials told her then it would be valid for her entire four-year high school academic career.