Last week, a San Antonio, Texas school district denied a 15-year-old student’s request to continue to attend one of its high schools while not complying with its policy to track student attendance through the use of student-worn badges. What are Garden State citizens to make of this?
Some may make nothing of it, believing that that’s Texas, not here. However, according to the Ocean City Patch, students at the OC High School will be “required to swipe a student ID card to create an electronic attendance record,” starting next year. That local school district will use K12 School Solutions’ technology, termed the “ultimate solution for complete student accountability.”
The Texas student, Andrea Hernandez, had initially objected to a student tracking system similar to K12’s because at John Jay High School, where she attends, badges there included RFID chips. These chips are used to match students carrying the badge with their Social Security numbers, and to monitor their movements.
Hernandez later objected to wearing a badge to school, whether or not it contained the RFID chip, because, as she wrote in her appeal to the school’s principal, she didn’t want to signify participation in the monitoring program, chip or no chip. This resulted in her being forced to leave the magnet school. Her objection, as supported by the Rutherford Institute, is based on religious and privacy grounds; this kind of thing is too close to the Mark of the Beast for their comfort.
In New Jersey, schools using technology to monitor student attendance primarily do so with fingerprint scanners. Ocean City is the only high school in the state that will use the badge system to create an attendance database.
Here, the stage is being set for the next test of the First and Fourteenth Amendments, as they apply to schools monitoring student attendance. In this, we may soon see a family who believes that their ability to freely exercise their religious beliefs are being infringed upon (First), and that the state is depriving them of their life, liberty, and property without due process (Fourteenth).
The template for how this may play out, here at home, is in San Antonio, at a school named after John Jay. Ironically, Jay was a co-author of The Federalist Papers, the essays written to influence the vote in favor of ratifying the Constitution, whose enumerated rights are being infringed by the school named after him.