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Too Many Students Denied Privacy Rights

September 25, 2013 in Economics

By Nat Hentoff

Nat Hentoff

There is a constant national debate on how well our schools are preparing kids for lives they’ll feel worth living. But the importance of that issue somewhat omits another major concern: how regularly these students are being tracked in and out of class.

I’d previously reported how Andrea Hernandez, a high school sophomore in the Northside Independent School District in San Antonio, Texas, had been expelled for refusing to wear a Radio Frequency Identification Card (RFID) that records every step students take.

You see, she’d read our Constitution.

In a lawsuit filed on her behalf by lawyers from the Rutherford Institute, Andrea claimed that, according to the Book of Revelation, she couldn’t be forced by a ruling secular authority to reject her personal religious beliefs. This was at the core of her right to religious freedom.

And, I reported a few weeks ago, as a result of her acting in awareness of her identity as a free American, she was later expelled from school (my column, “Public School Students Being Tracked Continually,” Sept. 11).

Her attorneys (provided at no charge by Rutherford Institute leader John Whitehead) firmly reminded the Texas courts that her school had denied her of her rights under the Texas Religious Freedom Act and the Fourteenth Amendment, which guarantees all Americans equal protection under the laws.

These knowledgeable American citizens had finally so re-educated the Northside Independent School District that, lo and behold, on Aug. 26, Andrea resumed classes at the John Jay Science and Engineering Academy, which regards itself as a magnet school.

Andrea Hernandez and John Whitehead have indeed made it a magnet, drawing the attention of other school administrators who still treat their tracked students as possible future suspects in alleged violations of their schools’ code of conduct.

Not only is Andrea back in class, but under this barrage of judicial criticism, the Northside Independent School District has decided to stop using the RFID program, whose badges had tiny tracking chips that followed students everywhere on school property.

Also, school officials didn’t dig the unfavorable publicity from Andrea’s Rutherford lawsuit. See, argued John Whitehead, “change is possible if Americans care enough to take a stand and make their discontent heard.

“As Andrea Hernandez and her family showed,” he continued, “the best way to ensure that your government officials hear you is by never giving up, never backing down, and never remaining silent — even when things seem hopeless.”

And as I keep …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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