UPDATE, MAY 31: Following an intense public backlash, Texas Judge Lanny Moriarty dismissed contempt charges Wednesday against Diane Tran – a 17-year-old high school student punished last week for truancy.
Tran, an 11th grade student at the Houston-area Willis High School, spent 24 hours in a Montgomery County jail last week and was ordered to pay a $100 fine for excessive truancy, Houston’s KHOU-11 reports. Under Texas law, students are allowed to miss no more than 10 class days during a six-month window; reportedly, Tran had missed 18 days for that school year.
Following her parents’ separation, Tran has been financially supporting her siblings, working full time at a dry cleaning operation and performing part-time work as a wedding planner. Considered a legal adult under state law, Tran was warned about her absences – considered a misdemeanor offense within the state – by a judge in April.
Shortly after the news broke, Tran’s case became an Internet phenomenon, with numerous sites and organizations starting fundraisers and circulating petitions in support of the 17-year-old, according to the Huffington Post. One petition, on the site Change.org, has amassed more than 250,000 signatures. The site HelpDianeTran.com, a project started by the Louisiana Children’s Education Alliance, raised more than $100,000 in little under a week for a trust account in Tran’s name.
By signing the order, Judge Moriarity drops all contempt charges against Tran, who now can have her record expunged following the completion of proper paperwork.
May 26: A 17-year-old honor student was sentenced to 24-hours in jail and a $100 fine by a Montgomery County, Texas judge for missing too many classes, CBS Atlanta reports.
Judge Lanny Moriarty told CBS Atlanta he wanted to make an example of Diane Tran, saying “If you let one run loose, what are you gonna’ do with the rest of ’em?”
Tran works two jobs in addition to taking advanced-level classes in an effort support herself and her younger sister after her parents split and left the teens to, basically, fend for themselves, she told CBS.
The full report and video interview are available on CBSAtlanta.com.