Honor Student Working Two Jobs Sent to Jail for Missing Classes – Update 6/1

Devastated: Diane Tran, 17, has a criminal record and spent a night in jail after being charged with truancy. She works two jobs to support her family


Update: 5/31; Judge Moriarity, responding to a public outcry from around the world, dismissed two contempt charges against the honor student missing classes because she was exhausted from working two jobs. Once she fills out the paperwork, her record will be expunged. (Fox Nation). People can accomplish the impossible when they work together.

Update: 5/31: The Daily Mail reports that $91,000 has been raised on HelpDianeTran.com and the LCEA is petitioning Judge Moriarty to cancel the fine and the jail sentencing so her future ambitions – including college applications – won’t be marred.

Update: 5/29/12: One well-known Houston attorney, E. Tay Bond, said the 24-hour prison sentence Diane Tran received for truancy was the most minimal under the law.

Maybe the law needs to be adjusted.

Fox News reported today  that the story went viral –

…Mary Elliot, owner of Vineyards of Waverly Manor, where Tran works, told FoxNews.com that Tran is a “straight-A student” and “exceptionally good kid” who takes college-level courses and has a strong work ethic. Elliot said the teenager should never have been arrested and forced to spend the night in jail.

“Her family has taught her a good work ethic,” Elliot said. “Her brother was No. 8 in his class. She wants to do better than that.”

“We need to change what they do to these kids in the school,” she said. “They need to look at their records instead of just judge them as bad kids.”

There are many people eager to help according to the same Fox News story –

…hundreds of people have rallied to raise money for the teen. One group, called the Louisiana Children’s Education Alliance, set up a website named helpdianetran.com that reported it had raised nearly $40,000 for the girl.

Houston Councilman Al Hoang said what he worries about most is Tran’s record.

“I’m going to ask the judge to expunge the record,” Hoang told FoxNews.com. “The truancy laws should be applied case by case and in this case, it should not be applied. I believe Judge Moriarty should have used his discretionary power to excuse her from this matter.”

If you want to help Diane Tran, you can contact Council Member Hoang –

Council Member Al Hoang
City Hall Annex
900 Bagby, First Floor
Houston, TX 77002

Phone: 832.393.3002
E-Mail: districtf@houstontx.gov

You can also sign a petition for her at HelpDianeTran

Original Story: 5/26/12: In a crackdown on truancy, an eleventh grade Texas student who works two jobs to support herself and her siblings, was thrown in jail for 24 hours and ordered to pay a $100 fine.  She missed some classes due to exhaustion and was warned about truancy last year by the same judge.

Judge Moriarty asked, ‘If you let one [truant student] run loose, what are you gonna’ do with the rest of ’em? Let them go too?’

Ms. Tran and her siblings were abandoned by her parents after they divorced. Her brother is at Texas A & M and her younger sister lives with relatives but she is expected to support them.

Now Ms. Tran, who wants to be a doctor, is afraid this police record will mar her record.

I must be missing something. We have parents who abandoned juveniles, a judge who has some kind of monomania about truancy and a great kid who is doing more than any 17 year old should ever have to do. No one is helping her but she is getting sent to jail and being given a police record.

The system can’t come up with a better solution than jailing this girl and giving her a police record? Her parents should be legally responsible for the financial support of these underage young people. Wouldn’t the judge have demonstrated wisdom if he used his powers to help Ms. Tran?

Daily Mail UK:…Ms Tran said she works a full time job, a part-time job, and takes advancement and dual credit college level courses at Willis High School.

‘[I take] dual credit U.S. history, dual credit English literacy, college algebra, Spanish language AP,’ she says of her impressive academic workload….