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Newsmonger: AG investigation into Daughters, Tracking chips and Devil marks, Climate bomb

Photo: Courtesy photo, License: N/A

Courtesy photo

Since lawmakers transferred custodianship of the Alamo to the General Land Office last year, there has been progress, including repairs to the roof, and better financial oversight, the report states.

Tracking chips and Devil marks

Fears over the "Mark of the Beast" have landed Northside ISD in court over a pilot program that puts tracking chips in student IDs at one of the district's magnet schools. John Jay High School sophomore Andrea Hernandez sued Northside last week after receiving a letter from Northside officials kicking her out of the school, ordering her instead to report at Taft High School when classes resumed this week. A judge granted Hernandez a temporary restraining order last week, keeping the district from expelling her from John Jay until after court hearing set for this Wednesday.

For months Hernandez and her family have fought with Northside officials over the district's new "Smart ID" program, which uses radio-frequency-enabled tracking chips to monitor student movement on campus and track attendance. Hernandez and her family have protested outside the school and spoken out at school board meetings. This month Hernandez tried to pass out fliers on campus criticizing the program, which Northside has said it may expand to all the district's 112 schools in the future.

For evangelicals like Hernandez, Northside's tracking-chip program bears an eerie resemblance to end-times passages from the Book of Revelations warning of the so-called "Mark of the Beast." At a protest last month, Hernandez called the "Smart ID" a violation of her religious rights, telling (the brainchild of Austin-based conspiracy theorist Alex Jones), "I feel that it's the implementation of the Mark of the Beast."

The Hernandez family is relying on help from the Rutherford Institute, an East Coast civil liberties group, to fight the district in court. "The key here is these people have strong religious beliefs, and they stand by them," said institute president John Whitehead last week. "There are a number of Christians, evangelicals that feel any kind of tag or device you put on people like that could be the Mark of the Beast out of Revelation."

In the letter to the Hernandez family this month, district officials offered to let Hernandez back into John Jay if she wore a student ID without the battery and tracking chip embedded. The family, who couldn't be reached for comment, refused, according to Whitehead. "They felt that would be endorsing a program they fundamentally can't support on religious grounds," he said.

"When they brought up the issue of religious freedom and wearing this technology violated religious beliefs, we respected their position and we did offer to give the student the ID without the built-in technology," said Northside spokesman Pascual Gonzalez. "We really don't understand now what the objection is. Every student has to wear some sort of ID."

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