A John Jay Science & Engineering Academy student who claims she was unfairly removed from school last month for refusing to wear an ID badge containing a microchip took her fight to federal court Monday.
Andrea Hernandez voiced her claim to U.S. Judge Orlando Garcia during a hearing.
"I earned my way into this school, and for them to kick me out due to my religious objections is unfair," Hernandez said.
Hernandez claims the badges, which monitor a students location while on campus, fit the biblical definition of "the mark of the beast."
The sophomore was granted a temporary injunction in state district court last month and was allowed to return to classes while her case was moved to federal court.
The district is conducting a pilot program in two schools to determine whether it will use badges district wide. The district says the microchip program helps it keep better track of students on campus. The program translates into money, since the district has more accurate attendance figures, Northside Independent School District Superintendent Brian Woods said.
Woods said the district has offered to allow Hernandez to wear the ID badge with the microchip removed.
"We have made what we think is a reasonable attempt to accommodate her religious objection," Woods said.
Hernandez' father says the badge itself represents the devil, and he feels they have a religious responsibility to object to them.
"We must share the word of God – we are the watchmen," he said. "If we see this and do not tell people about it, the blood of the people will be on our hands," Hernandez said.
Garcia will take the case under advisement and will issue a written ruling later this week.
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