Friday, November 23, 2012

TRO Issued To Uphold Student's Religious Objections To Wearing ID Badge With RFID Chip

The Rutherford Institute announced Wednesday that it has obtained a temporary restraining order in a suit filed in state court in Bexar County, Texas on behalf of high school student Andrea Hernandez. Plaintiff objects for religious reasons to wearing a Smart ID badge that is implanted with an RFID chip as part of the school's Student Locator Project. The complaint (full text) in Hernandez v. Northside Independent School District, says that plaintiff objects on the basis of scriptures in the book of Revelation that "an individual's acceptance of a certain code, identified with his or her person, as a pass conferring certain privileges from a secular ruling authority, is a form of idolatry or  submission to a false god." Plaintiff also refused the school's proposed accommodation under which the RFID chip would be removed, but plaintiff would still wear the ID badge around her neck as a symbol of her participation in the school's project. The suit claims that the school is violating plaintiff's rights under the Texas Religious Freedom Act. It also alleges that plaintiff's free speech rights were infringed when school officials refused to allow her to distribute petitions and fliers at school criticizing the Program. [Thanks to Mark Scarberry via Religionlaw for the lead.]