Among the many reasons teachers commonly give for fearing technology, probably few would cite eternal damnation. But in Randolph County, W.Va., the Board of Education has reached a compromise with a school teacher who opposed the school system’s ID cards on religious grounds.
Philip Hudok, a physics and chemistry teacher at Elkins High School, refused to wear the card, saying its bar code represented the “mark of the beast.”
During a Jan. 5 meeting, the board accepted Hudok’s request that he be allowed to wear a card without a bar code. However, the board rejected Hudok’s second request to give students the choice of whether they wanted the bar code on their cards.
Hudok’s requests were submitted to the board through a lawyer from the Rutherford Institute, of Charlottesville, Va., a Christian organization.
Board members rejected the second request because the bar code is used for billing meals purchased at the school.
The codes also are part of a safety plan developed last year by the Safe Schools Coalition following acts of violence at several schools across the country. Randolph County teachers also received two-way radios and counseling training, said county schools Superintendent Glen Karlen.
Hudok opposed the bar code, likening it to “the mark of the beast,” described in Chapter 13 of the Bible’s book of Revelation, that warns that numbering people indicates the arrival of the Antichrist.
Christians would defy God by accepting the mark, he said.
About 30 of the 1,000 students and several parents also oppose the cards, which Hudok says treats children like a commodity.
An employee’s rights under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 relates only to that individual and not to others, Karlen said.
Student concerns with the identification system must be addressed on an individual basis, Karlen said.