Christian student wins reprieve in forced tracking chip case

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A federal district court judge has ruled that a student at John Jay High School in San Antonio may continue attending classes, even though her school had threatened to expel her for refusing to wear a student-tracking ID badge that logs her whereabouts electronically, reports local CBS affiliate KENS.

The student, Andrea Hernandez, is a devout Christian who says that her religious beliefs prevent her from wearing the identification badge.

The identification cards are part of a pilot program implemented at two San Antonio schools: John Jay and Anson Jones Middle School. Since Oct. 1 of this year, students at the two schools have been required to wear or carry IDs at all times while on school grounds.

Hernandez and her father filed the lawsuit after John Jay’s principal, Robert Harris, threatened to expel her because she refused to wear the ID.

On Wednesday, a judge ruled that Harris had violated Hernandez’s rights to freedom of speech and the free exercise of religion, KENS reports. The judge issued a restraining order barring the school from taking further action against Hernandez.

The local school district faced scrutiny and criticism last spring when it originally announced that it would monitor students at the two schools by requiring them to wear microchip-embedded radio-frequency identification (RFID) cards during school hours. (RELATED: School district implements ID tracker program after under-reported attendance figures cost $1.7 million)

The required ID cards track every student’s location at school at all times. If the schools can prove that students are, in fact, on campus, they receive more state funding.

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Eric Owens