SAN ANTONIO -

A group of about 10 people gathered in front of Anson Jones Middle School Monday morning to protest new Smart Student ID badges that kids at Jones and John Jay high schools are now required to carry.

The badges are equipped with a chip that allows administrators to track students on campus -- and they're causing a big controversy.

Parent Steven Hernandez said the IDs were quietly pushed on parents and students in a recent letter.

Hernandez said asking his daughter to wear a chip is an issue of Biblical proportions.

"You have to take the Mark of the Beast. This is just indoctrination of this. This is not the Mark of the Beast, but this is how it starts," Hernandez said.

He said tracking students via mircrochip is akin to treating them like animals -- and that's an idea that has parents from other cities concerned, too.

In fact, Hernandez is the only local parent who protested Monday morning. The majority of the protesters came from Austin or Dallas said the issue affects their kids, too.

"We do not want our children to be conditioned that tracking is normal or even acceptable or mandatory," Judy Messer, a parent from Austin, said.

Messer and others don't believe that tracking will stop with chips in ID cards. They fear something more permanent -- like a bracelet -- could be next, then eventually even an implanted chip.

But there are plenty of parents who think the Smart ID is a smart idea.

Mary Villarreal dropped off her 11-year-old son for the first day sixth-grade at Jones Middle School.

"All I know is I came to drop my child off, and they're protesting against the chip. I think that it will benefit (the students). I think that I want to know where my son is," Villarreal said.

The school district said the initial cost of installing the card readers on the two campuses and buying the badges was about $500,000.

They expect to get a big return on that investment through money from the state.

According to the school district, students are counted absent if they're not in the correct classroom when attendance is taken. Administrators said the cards will allow school officials to see whether students are on campus.

For a list of recent stories Jenna Hiller has done, click here.

IMAGES