School District Wins Suit Filed Against It By Student Who Refused To Wear School-Issued Location Tracking ID Cards

from the another-'win'-for-school-administration----go-school! dept

Back in November we covered the story of a Texas student whose refusal to wear a school-issued ID card with an embedded RFID chip led to her suspension. Her family, along with the Rutherford Institute, took the school district to court, seeking a temporary restraining order which would allow the student to return to her school without wearing the Smart ID card.

The student's parents cited religious objections to the ID card/tracking device and the filing pointed out that requiring her to wear the badge violated both her First Amendment rights (by compelling speech -- conveying a message she didn't agree with) and the Texas Freedom of Religion Act.

Considering the whole program itself was implemented almost solely in hopes of securing more funding by boosting attendance numbers and that the district had no specific policies in place when it began requiring the ID cards, one would hope that we'd be hearing of the student's return to school sans ID when the decision came down.

Unfortunately, the court's decision went the other way, and Andrea Hernandez has until January 18th to decide whether to wear the badge and return to her original school or transfer to another district school that has yet to implement the Smart ID cards.
A Texas high school student who claimed her student identification was the “Mark of the Beast” because it was implanted with a radio-frequency identification chip has lost her federal court bid Tuesday challenging her suspension for refusing to wear the card around her neck...

[Judge Orlando Garcia] tentatively halted the suspension, but changed course Tuesday after concluding that the 15-year-old’s right of religion was not breached...
Hernandez's family feels the ID card and embedded chip represent the "Mark of the Beast" as detailed in Revelations 13:16-18. The school's counteroffer -- to have Andrea wear the badge without the RFID chip -- was rejected by her family, which still felt the badge itself was representative of the Antichrist. Judge Garcia saw it differently, however.
“The accommodation offered by the district is not only reasonable it removes plaintiff’s religious objection from legal scrutiny all together,” (.pdf) U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia wrote.
The Rutherford Institute plans to appeal this decision, claiming this decision is "not permissible under our constitutional scheme" and turns the district court into "an arbiter of what is and is not religious."

The Institute has a point, for whatever it's worth. Hernandez's parents claimed that both the ID card and the embedded chip were offensive to their religious beliefs but the court here seems to have decided the compromise offered by the district negates the family's opinion on the chip-less ID card. The school's offer to transfer the student to another school within the district is also reasonable on its face, but it does take away a few options -- namely, the classes Hernandez was attending this specific school for.

The school's interest in having Hernandez only appear to support the program could probably use some further examination as well, although angling for outward complicity isn't a violation of rights in and of itself. It does "compel" speech in a way, but more than simply rubbing the First Amendment the wrong way, it sends a message about what's truly important to the school district: that students show "support" for the district's policies... even if they object to them.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Ninja (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 7:55am

    She could simply move to another school but what when every single school has the system implement?

    Kids are no saints as I wasn't in my early days (I was actually a lil devil) but some mischief is normal and even 'needed' for their normal development. My school implemented stricter rules, cameras and a bunch of other tech surveillance stuff few years after I left and I had the opportunity to go back there to give a presentation on the electric/energy sectors. I was shocked to see how behaved they were. In a negative way. Really.

    Do we really want to monitor every single step from our kids? Because that's what the system will be used for, eventually.

     

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  2.  
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    Jeff (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 8:54am

    Huxley was right

    ... schools today are rapidly becoming the "conditioning centers" of tomorrow. The idea of thinking for yourself has been replaced with conformance - "for your safety".

     

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  3.  
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    Zakida Paul (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 9:47am

    Treating children like criminals?

    That will help their future development \sarc

     

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  4.  
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    Lowestofthekeys (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 9:52am

    Re: Huxley was right

    Sad but true.

    It's unfortunate too that they instead of boosting attendance through more practical means, they've chosen to go with the easy way out.

     

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  5.  
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    Lord Binky, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 9:53am

    I wonder what her family does about social security numbers, driver's licences, and any membership/discount cards that attribute a number to a person.

    Hopefully the school ID is not unique to their religious objection because they could get a lawyer in on this one.

    If that family has a driver's licence, I don't see how this is different. You have a picture ID that assigns a number to your person, for the purpose to allow you to legally _______. In one case it's operate a motor vehicle, in the other it is attend a specific school and the classes they hold.

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 9:55am

    There are definitely legitimate concerns about RFID tracking of students. Imaginary hand-waving about marks of the beast are not one of those legitimate concerns.

     

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  7.  
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    Lowestofthekeys (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 9:59am

    Re:

    It's related to the scripture in Revelation that refers to those having the mark of the beast would be the only ones able to buy and sell.

    Some religious-minded folks see this as a prelude to RFID technology embedded in your skin that allows for card-less transactions.

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 10:01am

    Wow, no wonder why they lost.

    That's about the worst possible way to attack the chips as unconstitutional. To anyone who's not religious that kind of an argument about the 'mark of the beast' just makes you look insane.

    How about suing over the chips being a violation of your right to privacy? And illegal searching. And psychological harm from treating students like criminals we have to monitor with a 'nicer' version of the ankle bracelet tracker.

     

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  9.  
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    Dementia (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 10:03am

    I think if I was the kid, I'd just have to go to wally world and run my id card of the device they have for killing the RFID chips....

     

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  10.  
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    Lord Binky, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 10:09am

    Re: Re:

    Odd, I would think credit/debit cards are more in line with that idea. Then again credit/debit cards are just so damn useful, it'd be ok to make an exception for them.

    As for being scared of RFID, I think being scared of tattoo ink and QR codes are more relevent.

     

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  11.  
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    Lord Binky, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 10:11am

    Re:

    Or 5 seconds in a microwave. But they refused to non-RFID badge as well, so the RFID isn't the real issue. *shrug*

     

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  12.  
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    S. T. Stone, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 10:14am

    Re:

    To anyone who's not religious that kind of an argument about the 'mark of the beast' just makes you look insane.

    Courts should not decide the ‘sanity’ of a person’s religious beliefs unless that person uses said beliefs as the justification for committing a crime.

    The family’s religious beliefs made them uncomfortable about their child wearing the badge (RFID chip or not), and the school should have respected their beliefs and found a way to allow the child to continue attending school without the badge or the RFID chip.

    The school basically gave the family two choices: compromise your religious beliefs or take your kid elsewhere.

    How would you feel if put in the same position?

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 10:18am

    Re: Re:

    You can't just use your (supposed) religious beliefs to shield you from anything you disagree with. Your position would render all laws irrelevant in the face of "but it violates my religious beliefs!" (beliefs which by definition are arbitrarily decided by individuals or groups).

     

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  14.  
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    gorehound (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 10:22am

    Re: Huxley was right

    Forcing kids to have to wear RFID Badges is an invasion of privacy.It is wrong.It is what you get when you live in a Police State.It is BULLSHIT !
    Kids should go Batshit over this.Back in the Early 70's when I was her age and back in Lynn, Mass we would of Torn Classical HS Apart for this.
    Protest this one !!! Kids have the Power !

     

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    PRMan, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 10:23am

    Re:

    I don't know about this family, but I do know that at a Christian college I was familiar with they had to invent phony SSNs to get people into their system. They had at least a half-dozen kids whose parents didn't have any sort of government ID whatsoever. And a few were even born outside of the hospital system so that they couldn't forcibly be given a number.

     

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    iCleverUserName (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 10:27am

    The “Mark of the Beast”? Just take off the Republican tag then....

     

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  17.  
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    S. T. Stone, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 10:30am

    Re: Re: Re:

    You can't just use your (supposed) religious beliefs to shield you from anything you disagree with.

    I agree, but in this situation, the school could have made an accomodation not just for this family, but for any family who had an objection to the badge and RFID chip for any reason.

    The validity of this family’s belief does not excuse the school from trying to respect said beliefs. Its offered compromise comes off as an attempt to have the family either compromise their beliefs (no matter how ‘insane’ those beliefs may seem to you) or pull their child out of said school because of their beliefs.

    I’d have a hard time defending the family if their beliefs called for their kid to bully others or commit acts of violence in the name of whatever deity they worship. In this specific instance, however, their beliefs seem far more personal and have nothing to do with bringing harm to others.

    I don’t identify as a religious person, and even I see this as a violation of the First Amendment.

     

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  18.  
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    S. T. Stone, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 10:32am

    Re:

    Yeah, because only Republicans can have crazy religious beliefs, amirite?

    Quit trying to provoke and divide.

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 10:39am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The school did make/offer an accommodation. The family did not find it accommodating enough. Maybe the school could have gone further. Maybe that still wouldn't be enough. Maybe it would have been enough. What about the next family who decides that they want an even larger accommodation.

    What about the families who proclaim that homework and detention violate their beliefs? Female teachers and science classes?

    You have to draw the line somewhere. Everyone has a set of personal beliefs and you can't expect every institution to constantly bend over backwards to satisfy every claim (from wacky to mundane) that by nature cannot be argued against.

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 10:42am

    Re:

    well they are growing up in a police state..

    It's the mindset of "Do as we say, not as we do" that will be the prevalent mindset of everything they do the rest of their lives. It's good to break them of hope now.

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 10:47am

    Re:

    I guarantee that is why she lost. Her family/lawyer went into court screaming "THE CHIP IS SATAN" instead of outlining the very obvious concerns with chipping students.

    now it's time for the trolls to respond to me with "BUT SHE IS ATTENDING A PUBLIC SCHOOL THEY CAN DO ANYTHING THEY WANT TO HER!!! CHILDREN AREN'T REAL PEOPLE YET!!!"

     

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  22.  
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    McCrea (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 10:52am

    Re:

    And then every job, every resort, every mall...

    Well, As long as we get to track every civil servant from the President down, maybe it will be worth it.

     

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  23.  
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    S. T. Stone, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 10:53am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You have to draw the line somewhere.

    Again, I agree. Religious beliefs should not become an excuse to sidestep the ‘unpleasantries’ of life.

    With that said: I don’t see how any usage of the badge and RFID chip outweighs the rights of a person to follow their religious beliefs.

    I could understand the school’s objection to this accomodation if it could justify the badge/chip system as a mandatory part of the school experience, but it can’t do that because hundreds of other schools in this country alone have no such system in place.

    I see no reason why the school could not allow this student, or any other, to attend without the badge.

     

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  24.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 10:55am

    Re: Re:

    It is the problem of state-less people all over again. If you have no proven country of origin you will get a "tolerated right" to the country you are in. That is how it works in EU and oceania at least. USA is just delaying the inevitable by refusing a universal government-granted ID (for voting purposes if nothing else). This lack of ID creates the need for substitutes in all shades and forms.

    The school offered to remove the RFID and that should be the end of this case. I think the judge is on the right side of the issue when it comes to reason. If it is legally correct is not for me to decide.

     

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  25.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 10:58am

    I wonder how many other students are uncomfortable with this. I wonder how many other people spoke out against it but were simply silenced under threat of retribution from the school.

     

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  26.  
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    Pitabred (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 10:59am

    Re: Re:

    How about it starts with the President, and then works it's way down? Not sure I'm a fan of bottom up with things like this, because the people at the top are the ones implementing it. But of course they'd willingly do it, right?

     

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  27.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 11:00am

    Re: Re:

    The problem is: If they fry the chip, how do they know that you're in school?

    The solution I probably would have done is cut the chip out, leave the badge intact, put the chip literally anywhere but in the badge or on my person.

     

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  28.  
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    Berenerd (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 11:00am

    Re:

    It will condition them for their dealings when buying their next Justin Beiber MP3 and have RIAA pounce on them

     

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  29.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 11:04am

    Re: Re: Re:

    The substitutes would be used anyway. There's no reason to work around a system they have no control over when they can just as easily force people to use a system where they have total control.

     

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  30.  
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    Information Warfare, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 11:08am

    Just remember

    WE the People are the enemy of the state.. Resist!

     

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  31.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 11:09am

    Well, with virtual schools now in existence, and good ones at that, who needs to deal with this?

     

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  32.  
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    orbitalinsertion (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 11:09am

    Well, they presented a crap argument, didn't they? Next time, they should try making a reality-based argument.

     

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  33.  
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    mhab, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 11:10am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I do... its cash... and as we all know cash is "king" -.- *le sigh*

     

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  34.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 11:11am

    Seperate but equal?

    If you take this judge's ruling to its logical conclusion, separate but equal should be reinstated. After all, if the following is true for THIS student, then it's true for any black student: "...does not have a protected property interest in attending school at a campus of her choice. Nor does she have a constitutional right to a specific curriculum, courses of her choice, or extra-curricular activities. Because Plaintiff has no constitutionally protected liberty or property interest in the courses offered through the Academy program, no process is due under the Fourteenth Amendment."

     

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  35.  
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    ChrisB (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 11:11am

    What?

    I can't tell if all of you are kidding or not. Railing against an ID badge? I've had many jobs where I needed to carry an ID badge to beep open doors and show security. Do all you kooks work at hippy coffee shops with no security? The RFID chip only records when you go through a door, it doesn't monitor you throughout the day, like a GPS tracker. This debate is borderline ridiculous.

     

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  36.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 11:11am

    What is she going to at a place that requires badged access to work? Sorry, but I think if badged access is used for security reasons, in a time where we want to know that the wrong people are not in our schools, is ok.

    I 100% agree with the court here, and the district's offering to remove the RFID chip. (I have a problem with tracking someone with no opt out.)
    This girl needs a big fat reality-check slap to the face. You can claim you're against ANYTHING for religious reasons.

     

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  37.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 11:12am

    I really hate this ruling. The judge mostly is saying that the student only has a right to an education, and not a right to an education at this particular school or particular classes. I'm sorry, but this is not entirely correct. You don't have an inherent right to take advanced classes - but if advanced classes are being offered, then it becomes an equal protection issue if they exclude you.

    Furthermore, the fact that the school offered to let her wear a dummy badge if she appeared to support the program, MAKES this a first amendment speech issue even if the first amendment religious issue is rejected. Consider: She would have been allowed to attend the school without the tracker, if she professed support for the program. I don't care WHAT the underlying issue is, this is unacceptable for a public school.

    The judge actually says there is "no harm" to the student. Really? She now has the choice of violating her religious beliefs or getting pulled out of her classes mid-year and put in a school where some of those classes are not even offered. Given the nature of education, I would call this IRREPARABLE harm. How could the school undo this a year later? Put her back in the class and hope she didn't forget anything?

     

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  38.  
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    orbitalinsertion (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 11:19am

    Re: Huxley was right

    They have always been halfway conditioning centers. Just look at history curriculum and textbooks K-12, US.

    Not sure what wearing an ID card with an RFID chip has to do with conditioning, development, or thinking for oneself. It still isn't a good thing.

     

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  39.  
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    orbitalinsertion (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 11:20am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Only if a government does it. If a corporation which is not a government does it, it is A-OK no matter what it is. Just ask Jesus!

     

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  40.  
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    Gweskoyen, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 11:23am

    Re: Re:

    As you're doing it right, I want to remind Mr Cushing and possible future commenters that it is explicitly the Book of Revelation, singular, not Revelations, plural.

    (Yes, I'm pedantic.)

     

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  41.  
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    orbitalinsertion (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 11:25am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Beliefs do not have equal merit to facts. You can believe whatever unsubstantiated thing you want, but deciding public policy in light of it is the worst way to go.

     

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  42.  
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    Colin, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 11:26am

    Re: Re: Re:

    The problem is: If they fry the chip, how do they know that you're in school?

    Almost like someone in charge at the school would have to actually pay attention then! Ahh!

     

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  43.  
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    Mr. Applegate, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 11:42am

    Re: Huxley was right

    ... schools have become the "conditioning centers" of tomorrow. The idea of thinking for yourself has been replaced with conformance - "for your safety".

    FTFY

     

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  44.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 11:46am

    " Hernandez's parents claimed that both the ID card and the embedded chip were offensive to their religious beliefs "

    Yes, but the Court found that claim to be unpersuasive. The Court said that since Hernandez did not have a problem with the RFID-less card in the past, her objection to an RFID-less card today was clearly secular and not religious. From the ruling:

    "Plaintiff does not contend that she has a "sincerely held religious belief" that wearing the badge without a chip is still the mark of the beast. And only with prompting by her counsel did A.H. agree that wearing the badge without a chip would mean she has to "bear false witness" to a program that she disagrees with. Thus, Plaintiff's objection to wearing a badge without a chip is not
    grounded in her religious beliefs.
    Again, Plaintiff has been wearing a student ID badge for several years. She doesn't object to wearing her old ID badge, yet she objects to the new ID badge issued by Jay H.S. despite the fact that the chip has been removed. Plaintiff's objection to wearing the Smart ID badge without a chip is clearly a secular choice, rather than a religious concern."

     

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  45.  
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    Lord Binky, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 11:50am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Wait, there's a difference between corporations and the government?

     

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  46.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 11:50am

    Re:

    "Sorry, but I think if badged access is used for security reasons, in a time where we want to know that the wrong people are not in our schools, is ok."

    It's not for security reasons. It's to track attendance. Technically that student smoking in the stairwell is "at school" and they want to be sure to get the funding for that student. http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20120907/08595920309/rfid-tagging-students-is-all-about-money.shtml

    It's useless for security for several reasons. The badges are never swiped to gain access. The RFID system is not going to track anyone NOT wearing the badge - which includes every single person NOT authorized to be at the school, and any student that takes off the badge so as not to be caught being somewhere they shouldn't be. Oh, and the cards are unencrypted. Someone could make a clone of a badge if a student so much as walked near them.

     

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  47.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 11:51am

    I don't know about the rest of you, but if the school required me to wear a lanyard around my neck all day with visible ID, I'd probably take offense to it too. The religious route isn't quite the route I would have taken to fight against it but would it not be fine to say, throw it in a wallet or purse? Same as a normal student ID card, able to show upon request or to prove you're in the school. What's the point of having it visible at all times?

     

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  48.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 11:51am

    Re: Re: Huxley was right

    It gets them used to, and makes them think it's normal, for them to be tracked and monitored everywhere they go. That is what the ID/RFID cards for students has to do with conditioning them.

     

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  49.  
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    S. T. Stone, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 11:51am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    On the flip side, facts do not equal the right to tell other people what to say, think, do, or believe.

     

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  50.  
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    Lord Binky, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 11:55am

    Re:

    Criminals get plastic picture ID cards to carry on their person? I thought that was just a standard business practice for security.

     

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  51.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 12:08pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    A more pertinent question, is if the chip is in the school how do they know the pupil is?

     

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  52.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 12:10pm

    All this decision proves is that children are chattel of the state.

     

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  53.  
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    Lord Binky, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 12:15pm

    Re: Re:

    Not wearing a badge identifies the person as someone who should not be there, it is still a rudimentary security method.

    The effectiveness or implimentation of their badge system, no matter how horrible, is not the issue at hand anyways. Neither is the school's motive behind accounting for the kids more accurately.

     

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  54.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 12:19pm

    Re:

    If the kids haven't worked out several ways of fooling the system by now America is in deep trouble as a technologically advanced society.
    A good prank would be for a whole class to turn up with the same RFID tag ID.

     

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  55.  
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    Lowestofthekeys (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 12:21pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    There is only one difference...one knows how to spend their money wisely.

     

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  56.  
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    Vidiot (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 12:47pm

    Re: Re:

    Facial recognition can probably do all the same things... and it's already deployed and fairly mature. Wear a Guy Fawkes mask all day? Cosmetic surgery?

     

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  57.  
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    S. T. Stone, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 12:50pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Not wearing a badge identifies the person as someone who should not be there,

    Assume you have a child in a school that requires all students and employees to wear a badge.

    Now assume that your child has suffered an injury and the school needs you to come in and pick him up.

    How would you feel if you walked into the school to pick up your hurt child and a security guard stopped you because you don’t have a badge?

     

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  58.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 12:52pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    "Not wearing a badge identifies the person as someone who should not be there, it is still a rudimentary security method."

    True.

    "The effectiveness or implimentation of their badge system, no matter how horrible, is not the issue at hand anyways. Neither is the school's motive behind accounting for the kids more accurately."

    Effectiveness becomes relevant when deciding which side will be harmed the most. Motive is important because IF the school is NOT using the badges for security, then there is no valid reason to force the student to wear the non-RFID badge.

    Of course the judge here somehow decided that moving the student to another school would cause ZERO harm, so it didn't really come up in the ruling.

     

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  59.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 1:18pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    There is no difference, any corporation that gets large enough is just as wasteful (if not more so) than government.

    I live in Rochester, NY and I've seen hundreds of case studies on Kodak and Xerox. I would argue that as a percentage of revenue either of them was more wasteful than the government.

     

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  60.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 1:25pm

    Re:

    Freedom of religion is absolutely a legitimate constitutional concern.

     

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  61.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 1:29pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I agree with both of you on some level but I would argue that ultimately the school did make the largest accommodation, she could go to a school not using the RFIDs.

    I think the argument would have gone much further in court if the lawyer had argued why NO student should be wearing the RFIDs rather than why THIS student shouldn't be expected to. Also, determining the validity of someones beliefs is part of being a judge. After all, Rastafarians can't smoke pot in the US and Satanists can't murder babies (or whatever it is Satanists do that would normally be illegal).

     

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  62.  
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    btr1701 (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 1:31pm

    Silly

    I'm usually a big supporter of individual rights but it's good to see the court shitcan this whole "ID cards = Satan and therefore I don't have to participate" nonsense.

    I bet this kid's parents aren't refusing to carry a drivers license-- and foregoing driving-- because they think it marks them for Lucifer. And if they are driving without a license, no court will accept that as a valid defense if they get arrested for it.

    The kid's gonna have to carry ID at some point if she wants to live in modern society. Best she get used to it now.

     

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  63.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 1:33pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    That isn't really a flip side. To some degree, arguments for specific actions based on facts do give us the right (as a society) to demand certain behavior.

    After all, if I believe that murdering people is really just helping them meet Jesus faster the FACT that they are now dead outweighs my believe and I'll be forced to go to jail.

     

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  64.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 1:36pm

    Re:

    too much time on reddit. this place needs an upvote button.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  65.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 1:45pm

    Re: Seperate but equal?

    Not every slope is slippery.

    The big flaw in your argument is that segregation was ended because segregation is inherently bad; in fact, what was ruled as being illegal was segregation BASED ON race, creed, age, etc.

    In this case the school wasn't attempting to segregate students at all, let alone based on a protected class of individual. If the lawyer had argued that this family was practicing a specific religion, say "Anti-Christ-is-everywhereians", and that group had been targeted, it might have helped the case.

     

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  66.  
    identicon
    Lord Binky, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 1:53pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    About the same as I would as being stopped by a security guard and forced to go through a metal detector, which is already acceptable practice now.

     

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  67.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 1:55pm

    Re:

    DON'T BLAME THE JUDGE, BLAME THE LAWYER.

    Basically this guy showed up in court, screamed mark of the beast over and over, and thought it would be an easy win. I actually agree with your arguments but these people had ulterior motives. They didn't want to win on the liberal definition of free speech or on the education harm. They wanted a court to agree this was the mark of the beast to make a broad political statement.

    I'm about done with parents using their children and the school system in an effort to politicize education. There are real problems in the world and having every religious whack-job in the country tied up in court to win a Pyrrhic victory is really starting to grind my gears.

     

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  68.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 1:55pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I don't really have a problem with the student wearing the non-RFID badge as an accommodation. My problem there is only with the strings the school tried to attach to that:

    The school offered a special lanyard with the RFID tag removed, in the hopes to put a damper on the whole situation. The student’s father refused the deal, however, because it came with strings attached.

    “He told me in a meeting that if my daughter would proudly wear her student ID card around her neck so everyone could see, he would be able to quietly remove her chip from her student ID card,” Steve Hernandez told WND. “He went on to say as part of the accommodation my daughter and I would have to agree to stop criticizing the program and publicly support … it.


    Can we at least agree that THIS part is wrong? To force someone to publicly support a program that they oppose?

    At least by forcing this issue to the courts, the student was able to make her opposition known. IMO she should drop the case now. She only has to wear a normal badge, not an RFID badge, and that by itself does not violate her rights even if she opposes it for other reasons. And now that it's gone through the courts, they aren't going to be able to force her to publicly support the program.

     

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  69.  
    identicon
    Lord Binky, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 2:20pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The harm is no different then a school uniform, although uncommon, is still a perfectly acceptable practice and is considered to be without harm.

    Assigning worth to a religious belief is not going to work well. It really comes down to the girl having a choice:

    School A where they have a policy she doesn't like, but classes she wants

    School B where they have a policy she does like, but is missing the classes she wants

    There's even the option of just being homeschooled, which is an option that many kids take based on their parents objections to public school policies.

    The practice of using badges in the first place is better addressed by more concrete issues such as the waste of funds caused by them being ID badges with RFID over laminated paper, when the benefits of ID badges are not being used.

     

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  70.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 2:27pm

    Re: Re:

    "They wanted a court to agree this was the mark of the beast to make a broad political statement."

    They were never going to get a court to agree to that. The best they could do is get a court to agree that THEY believed that it was the mark of the beast.

    "I actually agree with your arguments but these people had ulterior motives."

    Ugh. I want to say the motives of the parents don't matter, but since this is a religious freedom thing, the motives DO matter - but only as to whether this was a legitimately held religious belief. If it was, the motives beyond THAT do not matter. You can't just rule against people you don't like, because precedents get set and suddenly the law is interpreted in bad ways.

    The end result verdict is probably correct. The student can either wear a non-RFID badge, or go to another school. My problem is more with the logic used to get there. Transferring a student to a school that doesn't offer the same classes DOES cause harm to the student.

     

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  71.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 2:41pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "The harm is no different then a school uniform, although uncommon, is still a perfectly acceptable practice and is considered to be without harm. "

    So if a student's religion mandated that they have a head covering but the school uniform/dress code prohibited head coverings, your solution would be to have the student find another school? And you think that making a student transfer away from a magnet school into a regular school that didn't offer the same classes would cause zero harm to the student?

    Wouldn't it be more reasonable to allow the student to just have the head covering? Without looking, I'm guessing that courts have ruled that way on that exact issue. If there aren't any rulings, it's because the schools HAVE allowed the covering when requested, without it needing to go to court.

    "There's even the option of just being homeschooled, which is an option that many kids take based on their parents objections to public school policies. "

    That's not a reasonable option for many people, and not one the state can force them to take in any case.

     

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  72.  
    identicon
    Mr. Oizo, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 2:49pm

    Re: Huxley was right

    The interesting thing is that this balances itself out. It is always the outliers, the non-confrmists, the difficult people that create new opportunities for the future. Let the school try to condition them, the smart ones will just give them the finger and do what they need to do. They should not be worried about 'being thrown out'. In the end the entire economy is collapsing anyway and it would be better for the smart ones to learn to live for their own.

     

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  73.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 3:01pm

    Re: Re: Seperate but equal?

    "The big flaw in your argument is that segregation was ended because segregation is inherently bad; in fact, what was ruled as being illegal was segregation BASED ON race, creed, age, etc."

    Huh? You think AGE-based segregation is illegal? Please tell that to every single elementary, middle, and high school in the country. And when did I say that segregation was inherently good or bad?

    Anyway. If this judge's logic had been used, nobody would have had standing to sue about (racial) segregation in the first place, since apparently one is not "harmed" by being forced to attend an inferior school. (And I'm assuming that the magnet school was superior to the normal high school - therefore the normal high school can be considered inferior to it.)

    "If the lawyer had argued that this family was practicing a specific religion, say "Anti-Christ-is-everywhereians", and that group had been targeted, it might have helped the case."

    If they could prove THAT, it would have been a slam dunk win, yes. Obviously that wasn't the case.

     

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  74.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 3:31pm

    Sounds like they're trying to get the future used to being tracked around the clock.

    Yeah F that...

     

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  75.  
    identicon
    Jake, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 4:05pm

    They might perhaps have chosen a less absurd-sounding angle of attack than the scheme sounding vaguely reminiscent of a passage in the Bible that most established churches choose to quietly gloss over these days.

     

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  76.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 4:29pm

    RFID tracking device on students? Invasion of privacy mean anything to these texans?

     

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  77.  
    icon
    Dementia (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 4:49pm

    Re: What?

    But that isn't the case in this instance. There are no doors to access using the chip. The chip is used to monitor the kids' locations, maybe not all day at this point, but how hard do you think it would be to rewrite the software to run all day tracking.?

     

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  78.  
    identicon
    Anonymous, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 5:26pm

    "...the Antichrist. Judge Garcia saw it differently...". The period between "Antichrist" and "Judge" should be removed.

     

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  79.  
    icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 6:34pm

    Re: Re:

    Correction - They refused the chipless card because the condition attached was to drop all public dissent with the program and smile and say it was wonderful now.
    They expected the family to publicly support a program they detest, to get a pass out of the program.

    This is not the first time this systems fallen afoul.

    And this was all to make money, where did they get the money to pay AT&T to run the program for them?

     

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  80.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 8:00pm

    Re:

    As noted, moving to another school would mean she cannot take the courses she enrolled for, as they are not offered at another school.

     

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  81.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 9:29pm

    Re: Re:

    Not True. A badge gives a quick way to spot people who are not authorized to be in the school. Wearing an ID badge is required in most High Schools and many elementary schools.

     

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  82.  
    icon
    TheLoot (profile), Jan 10th, 2013 @ 3:15am

    Sense in the Courtroom

    Thankfully, they threw out that stupid religious argument.

     

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  83.  
    icon
    Niall (profile), Jan 10th, 2013 @ 4:24am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Well, you can opt out of using credit/debit card - they are not mandatory, just convenient. School attendance cards though...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  84.  
    icon
    Niall (profile), Jan 10th, 2013 @ 4:27am

    Re: Re:

    Ah, but this is Texas. Religious concerns, especially (or only?) Christian ones, are seen to be paramount by many...

     

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  85.  
    icon
    Niall (profile), Jan 10th, 2013 @ 4:29am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    As far as I know, there isn't anything 'illegal' about Satanists or their rituals, other than being a 'heretical Christian sect' which seems to get other Christian sects' knickers in a twist.

     

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  86.  
    icon
    Niall (profile), Jan 10th, 2013 @ 4:30am

    Re: Re:

    Being a Republican *is* a crazy religious belief! Nearly as insane as being a Paulbot or a gun nut... :)

    /troll

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  87.  
    icon
    Niall (profile), Jan 10th, 2013 @ 4:33am

    Re:

    Yes, because as the Antichrist, He will judge you?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  88.  
    identicon
    Andrew D. Todd, Jan 10th, 2013 @ 4:52am

    A School in Conflict.

    No one seems to be mentioning the obvious point that you can wrap a RFID tag, or an object containing one, such as a badge, in tinfoil to create a Faraday cage. I gather that the school has a massive attendance problem, nearly the worst in the district. It's a fantastically troubled slum school, in which a smaller magnet school has been inserted, in an attempt to disguise the problem. There must be a strong current of resentment between the two parts. The magnet school students probably resent being treated like criminals when they have just won scholarships, and this girl has simply articulated a widespread feeling.

    I have a certain vicarious knowledge of this kind of thing, as my kid sister went to such a school about thirty-five years ago. The worst high school in Cincinnati happened to be adjacent to the University of Cincinnati campus, between Fraternity Row and the main off-campus shopping district. A curious juxtaposition (*). Well, they inserted a magnet school, a City-Wide Learning Center, whose main draw was that students could take whatever college courses at the university that they were qualified for. The University of Cincinnati has its own community colleges, as well as various graduate schools, so that a talented high school student could find a way to meet practically every requirement for a high school diploma. My understanding is that the only really firm requirements were High School English, Gym, and stuff like that. Of course, the way to get admitted to the City-Wide Learning Center was to demonstrate that one needed to take college courses of a type which were flatly not available in high school, e.g. professional courses in the art or music schools, or advanced courses in the Arts and Sciences college, e.g. advanced mathematics, hard science, and foreign language courses which the average freshman was not eligible for. The social dynamics were a bit curious, as one might imagine.

    (*) Cincinnati's geography is a bit odd. Over geological time, the Ohio River has cut a sort of canyon about three hundred feet deep in a "semi-plain," or "glacial moraine." They have hills so steep that their sides frequently become near-cliffs a couple of hundred feet high. The University of Cincinnati is in a neighborhood named Clifton, sitting on top of cliffs looking down a couple of hundred feet to the slums around the railroad yard, with few streets connecting down to the area below the cliffs. Over a period of years, the university had expanded, together with its associated facilities, student housing, etc., to the point that it had driven out most of the kind of people who would have children to send to school, but the school board still had a high school there. The high school's district had been adjusted to include the slums down below, but the hill created enough of a disconnect to make the hilltop a fairly posh neighborhood.

     

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  89.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 10th, 2013 @ 6:12am

    Re: Re: Re: Seperate but equal?

    I didn't realize that you were not familiar with the legal definition of segregation as it applies to blacks vs. whites.

    Your school example is both an attempt to be condescending and not an example of segregation in the legal since of "separate but equal."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  90.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 10th, 2013 @ 6:12am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Seperate but equal?

    *sense

     

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  91.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 10th, 2013 @ 6:17am

    Re: Re: Re:

    The only quibble I have is that the legal definition of harm is very specific and in this case the girl wasn't being offered an inferior education in comparison to the average US student only in comparison to students being offered an above average education.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  92.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 10th, 2013 @ 8:26am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Seperate but equal?

    No, no. I wasn't saying that the girl is a victim of segregation. Let me switch the example to gender instead of race. (Gender segregation in schools is generally legal, I think... there do exist all-girls and all-boys schools.)

    Imagine if the school had denied the magnet school to her because she was a girl. Obviously illegal - but she has to show harm in order to get it struck down. If there is no harm in getting kicked out of that school, nobody has standing to sue and the district would be free to continue that policy, or just about any policy they wanted.

    Well, I guess my main problem is this. If there is no harm from changing schools, then the school would not have to make ANY accommodation to the student other than allowing a transfer. They wouldn't have had to offer the option of wearing the non-RFID badge, because if the transfer caused no harm, then the transfer itself would be the only accommodation needed. And I don't think that's right.

     

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  93.  
    identicon
    The Real Michael, Jan 10th, 2013 @ 8:52am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "At least by forcing this issue to the courts, the student was able to make her opposition known. IMO she should drop the case now. She only has to wear a normal badge, not an RFID badge, and that by itself does not violate her rights even if she opposes it for other reasons. And now that it's gone through the courts, they aren't going to be able to force her to publicly support the program."

    These are children who are being conditioned to accept being branded like cattle as though normal behavior. This school district went along with the program purely for the sake of profit; the children are being manipulated as a means to that end. Religious or not, exploiting children for profit's sake constitutes a violation of their rights.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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