Diane Tran, a 17-year-old honor student in Texas, was forced to spend the night in jail last week after missing too many classes, US Magazine reports.
According to Khou, Judge Lanny Moriarty said last month Diane Tran was in his Justice of the Peace court for truancy and he warned her then to stop missing school.
But Tran recently missed classes again so Wednesday the judge issued a summons and had her arrested in open court when she appeared.
Moriarty ordered Tran to spend 24 hours in jail and pay a $100 fine. The judge admitted that he wants to make an example of Tran.
“If you let one run loose, what are you gonna’ do with the rest of ’em?,” said Judge Lanny Moriarty. “Let them go too? A little stay in the jail for one night is not a death sentence.”
In an interview with KHOU-11, Diane Tran said she takes AP Spanish, college level algebra and dual credit English and history courses.
She has to work hard because she is helping to support an older brother who attends Texas A&M University and a baby sister who lives with relatives in Houston.
Tran’s parents divorced and maved away, so she lives with the family that owns the wedding venue where she works on weekends.
“She goes from job to job from school,” Devin Hill, one of Tran’s classmates, said. “She stays up until 7:00 in the morning doing her homework.”
Tran works at the Vineyard of Waverly Manor on weekends and at a dry cleaners full time, writes The Huff Post.
Diane Tran’s case has spread online, with dozens of news outlets across the country picking up her story.
HelpDianeTran.com, a site set up by the Louisiana Children’s Education Alliance in partnership with Anedot and Gatorworks, has already raised over $2,000.
A petition already signed by more than 8,000 people at Change.org that urges the judge to revoke the teen’s fine and sentencing.
“This remarkable young woman doesn’t deserve jail,” wrote a Change.org commenter going by Letitia Gutierrez. “She deserves a medal.”
If a student has ten or more unexcused absences within a six-month period, the school district may refer the student to a juvenile court, according to Texas law.
“In such cases, resolution of the issue is entirely in the hands of the court,” says a statement on the website of the Willis Independent School District.