David Kravets reports:
A 22-year veteran kindergarten teacher in the Texas Bible Belt could lose her job for refusing, on religious grounds, to give fingerprints under a state law requiring them.
The evangelical Christian, Pam McLaurin, is fighting a looming suspension, claiming that fingerprinting amounts to the “Mark of the Beast,” and hence is a violation of her First Amendment right to practice her religion. Her case is similar to a lawsuit by a group of Michigan farmers, some of them Amish, challenging rules requiring the tagging of livestock with RFID chips, saying the devices are also the devil’s mark.
“The school district’s position is fully supportive of Mrs. McLaurin,” Haglund continued in a telephone interview. “We’re caught in the crossfire. We believe her religious beliefs are sincerely held.”
Haglund said the Texas Education Agency informed him it would deactivate her teacher certification if she does not comply. She has until Nov. 7, Skelton said.
Texas lawmakers approved the fingerprinting measure in 2007 in a bid, Skelton said, “to catch somebody with a criminal background or a history of preying on children.”
“She’s willing to undergo a background check,” Skelton said, “just not fingerprinting.”
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