Monday, May 28, 2012

Diane Tran, Honor Student At Texas High School, Jailed For Missing School

UPDATE: Lots of good news for Diane Tran!

Diane Tran, Texas Honor Student Jailed For Missing School, Has Contempt Order Vacated
The Huffington Post
By Timothy Stenovec
Diane Tran, the Texas honor student who was jailed last week for missing too much school, will not have to worry about telling future employers or college admissions offices that she has a criminal history.

Lanny Moriarty, the judge who ordered the 17-year-old to go to jail after more than ten unexcused school absences, has set aside the contempt of court order he entered last week, according to Tran's lawyer, Brian Wice.

"She can now truthfully say that she doesn't have a criminal history," Wice told The Huffington Post by phone on Wednesday afternoon. He added that he's now going to find a lawyer to expunge the record.

Tran, a junior at Willis High School who takes AP and college level courses, works both full and part-time jobs to help support herself and two siblings, according to KHOU-11. She sometimes misses class because she's so tired from work.

"She goes from job to job from school," Devin Hill, one of Tran's classmates, told KHOU-11 last week. "She stays up until 7:00 in the morning doing her homework."

Her story resonated across the country and throughout the world. Nearly $100,000 in donations have come in from 49 states and 18 countries, according to, a site established in part by the Louisiana Children's Education Alliance (LCEA), a non-profit that focuses on education reform.

"We read the story and our hearts just broke thinking about what this girl had gone through," Charlie Davis, the president and founder of the LCEA, told HuffPost. "At same time we were infuriated that she'd become a victim of both the public education system and the judicial system, and we wanted to do something to help her, to show her some support."

Davis stressed that 100 percent of the money donated outside of the credit card processing fees will be donated to Tran, and said that he's hoping to give the money to the high school junior next week...


A Texas judge sentenced an honor student to jail because she missed class due to exhaustion. She works one full-time job and one part-time job in addition to a heavy load of advanced classes.

What exactly is the judge trying to teach her? That she should quit working and quit eating? That she should take easy classes so she doesn't need to spend hours studying? Or perhaps she should drop out of high school?

The law was obviously designed for kids who are failing in school due to truancy. But isn't it likely to cause kids simply to drop out of school? And many kids who are never truant are graduating without minimal skills. If schools were offering a more useful and more pleasant experience, they might not have to use the threat of jail to get kids to come to school.

Ten or more unexcused absences within a six-month period is just one-and-a-half days per month. I don't see how that could severely impede the education of a smart kid. And even for a not-so-smart kid, a carrot might be better than a stick to achieve a good educational outcome.

Diane Tran, Honor Student At Texas High School, Jailed For Missing School
The Huffington Post
By Timothy Stenovec

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, KHOU-11's Sherry Williams reports.

The Willis High School junior, who helps support two siblings, has both a full time and part-time job. She said that she's often too tired to go to school.

"She goes from job to job from school," Devin Hill, one of Tran's classmates, told KHOU-11. "She stays up until 7:00 in the morning doing her homework."

In an interview with KHOU-11, Tran said she takes AP Spanish, college level algebra and dual credit English and history courses. Her parents divorced and no longer live near her, so she lives with the family that owns the wedding venue where she works on weekends.

According to Texas law, 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. "In such cases, resolution of the issue is entirely in the hands of the court," reads a statement on the website of the Willis Independent School District.

After being warned by a judge in April about missing too much school, Tran was arrested in court on Wednesday and required to spend the night in jail, according to the above video from KHOU-11. She has also been fined $100.

Tran's case has spread online, with dozens of news outlets across the country picking up her story., a site set up by the Louisiana Children's Education Alliance in partnership with Anedot and Gatorworks, has raised over $28,000.

A petition at that calls for the judge to revoke the teen's fine and sentencing was approaching 26,000 signatures on Monday afternoon.

"This remarkable young woman doesn't deserve jail," wrote a commenter going by Letitia Gutierrez. "She deserves a medal."

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