Texas school district drops microchip-tracking system

Lauren Williams's picture
Thursday, July 18, 2013

A San Antonio school district said it would no longer require students to carry microchips, an attendance-tracking program that one student had unsuccessfully claimed in court had violated her religious beliefs.

Northside Independent School District, one of the largest districts in Texas, required students at some schools to carry identification badges with microchips last year to ensure they would be counted as present, because state funding is tied to student attendance.

District officials decided that attendance didn't increase enough to justify the costs of the program, said Northside spokesman Pascual Gonzalez. "The lawsuit and negative publicity were part of the conversation, but not the deciding factor in ending the program," he said.

Andrea Hernandez contested the program last year, claiming her evangelical Christian beliefs prevented her from carrying the ID card because it was a sign of submission to a secular ruling authority, a form of idolatry she said is prohibited by the Bible's New Testament. Ms. Hernandez, who will be a high-school junior this fall, was later expelled after refusing to carry the badge. 

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