Honor student Diane Tran, 17, was arrested and sentenced to 24 hours in jail and $100 dollar fine. Photo: CNN

UPDATE: Contempt Charges Dropped Against Texas Honor Student Diane Tran

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.

‘Drop Out Factories’ Decline, Nation Pushes for Graduation Benchmark

Drop out factories. Since coined by a Johns Hopkins researcher working on high school dropout issues in 2004, that’s the name given to schools that lead our nation in dropout rates, graduating less than 60 percent of their students each year. Around the country, half of the more than 1 million students that fail to graduate high school each year come from just 12 percent of the nation’s schools, according to U.S. Department of Education statistics. President Barack Obama, retired General Colin Powell and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, among others, have taken notice. Since 1980, dropout rates around the United States have decreased – and graduation rates are up – but nearly one in four public school students still leave high school without a diploma.


Frequent Marijuana Use Among Teens is Up

Heavy marijuana use among teens has increased drastically in recent years, with nearly one in 10 sparking up 20 times or more each month, according to a new survey of young Americans released this morning. The findings represent nearly an 80 percent increase in past-month heavy marijuana use among high school aged youth since 2008. Overall, the rate of marijuana use among teens has increased. Past month marijuana users, or teens that have used marijuana in the month prior to the survey, increased 42 percent, to 27 percent of teens, compared to 2008 findings. Past-year and lifetime use also increased, but not as drastically, at 26 percent and 21 percent respectively.

Cheating Scandal Prompts New SAT and ACT Security Measures

In the wake of an embarrassing cheating scandal involving at least 20 Long Island, N.Y., high school students, the makers of the SAT and ACT college entrance exams are tightening rules nationwide. Significantly, students will now be required to provide a photograph when signing up for the tests that officials will check against student identification on testing day. The SAT and ACT are used by virtually every American college when making admissions decisions. Last fall, the Nassau County District Attorney charged five teenagers with taking the tests for other students and accused 15 others with paying them $500 to $3,600 to take the tests, The New York Times reports. As many as 50 students may have been involved, the district attorney, Kathleen M. Rice, told the Times.

Grants for Chemistry Teachers With Innovative Ideas

American Chemical Society will be awarding grants of up to $1,500. The ACS-Hach High School Chemistry Grant is awarded to U.S. high school chemistry teachers to support ideas that transform classroom learning, foster student development and reveal the wonders of chemistry. Applications are accepted annually February 1 – April 1. Applicants for the 2012-2013 award cycle will be notified of their status by June 30, 2012. 

In the past, awards have been given for laboratory equipment, instructional materials, professional development and field studies.  

Hurtful Words in the Hallway, Sexual Harassment in High School

It was a normal day at school when I asked a friend if he could tell my teacher that I would be late to class while I grabbed something from the library. “Oh, I’ll tell her you’re off having sex with all those guys.”

This was my friend. It was a disrespectful comment, but I brushed it off. He was known as a bit of a comedian, but I knew he considered me a nice girl. It wasn’t until I walked away that I heard another voice say, “Because it’s likely.”

We’re taught that sexual harassment is an often violent and deplorable act found in the workplace or on the street.

Ty Cobb On Safe Schools for LGBT Youth

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth across America are facing a crisis in the juvenile justice system as a result of harmful discrimination in their homes, schools and communities. Recent studies demonstrate that continued harassment of LGBT youth in their schools place them at a higher risk for involvement with the system. LGBT youth are more likely to skip school to avoid victimization and in the process face truancy charges. Additionally, other LGBT students end up in the system on assault or disorderly conduct charges after they try to defend themselves against bullying by their classmates. In other instances, LGBT youth are disproportionately targeted by school officials for punishment, often referring them to juvenile court for conduct that is more appropriately handled in school.

Grant offers Kids Learning Labs in Libraries and Museums

The MacArthur Foundation is offering a grant designed for Learning Labs in Libraries and Museums for middle and high school kids. This grant will help fund the planning and designing of 30 Learning Labs in libraries and museums throughout the country. These labs will be designed to help kids learn through digital and traditional media. The deadline for this grant is August 15, 2011. Eligibility: Libraries or parent organizations, academic or administrative unit/library consortium, library associations, nonprofits and units of state or local governments.  

AT&T Offers Grant to Stop the Drop-outs


AT&T is offering a grant to help stop high school kids from dropping out of school. Statistics indicate that one out of three public high school kids don’t graduate. The company's grant is focused on helping reduce this statistic and help inspire kids to want to graduate. The grant has a rolling deadline.