Honor students who works to support sibs jailed for missing school

Filed under “where is the common sense?,” a judge has sentenced a 17-year-old honor student who is also working to support her siblings to a night in jail and to pay a $100 file.

From The Huffington Post:

“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.”

This is a case where the government needs to help support this family instead of punishing her. (Or at the very least leave her alone.) She is doing all that can to prepare her mind for the future while helping to support her family today. It’s called common sense!

What do you think?

42 comments Add your comment

southpaw

May 29th, 2012
12:39 pm

NEITHER parent lives near her? Maybe one of them (or both) should go to jail as well.

DB

May 29th, 2012
12:39 pm

The judge felt that if he showed her leniency, it would encourage others towards truancy.

If his definition of “truancy” is working your ass off and supporting your family without drugs or prostitution and excelling in school, then I think we need more truants, personally. The judge is an idiot — told her that 24 hours in jail wasn’t going to hurt her. I don’t really see where it helped her or society, either. She really should just ‘home school’ herself.

kimmer

May 29th, 2012
12:40 pm

Wow. Was this judge having a bad day or something?

justmy2cents

May 29th, 2012
12:40 pm

Well, she knew the rules & chose to break them. My bigger concern is the statement “her parents divorced and no longer live near her.” Umm, why are they not supporting her or the siblings? Is she an emancipated minor? If the law is anything like here in GA, there is a loophole for her. Go to school til you achieve the required minimum hours and then go home “sick”. It still counts as a full day. My elementary school daughter could go to school every day til after lunch, then get checked out for the afternoon and it would still be considered perfect attendance.

really?

May 29th, 2012
12:52 pm

“She knew the rules and chose to break them” Are you kidding me? Get off your high horse

mom2alex&max

May 29th, 2012
12:52 pm

I read about this on another web site and it floored me as well. But I really do not understand how is it that neither parent is anywhere near her or her siblings. How does that work????

Jeff

May 29th, 2012
12:53 pm

Seems we’ve arrived at the road where the good people are being punished and the bad are slipping through.

Can’t say we weren’t warned by many in the past.

tiredofIT

May 29th, 2012
12:59 pm

Sounds like something the GOP would do.

☺☻Have A Smile!

May 29th, 2012
1:00 pm

Just more proof that instead of offering a clever & helpful solution, once again a “judge” (I use the term loosely) took the easy way out and went by the books, not the spirit of the law.

Must be nice to sit on the bench and penalize someone who’s already up to their neck with responsibilities and stress before they’re even old enough to legally drink.

Sometimes my own country embarasses me. :(

☺☻Have A Smile!

May 29th, 2012
1:01 pm

Sounds like something the GOP would do.

No it doesn’t. Give me a fvcking BREAK.

Figment

May 29th, 2012
1:03 pm

If her parents live somewhere else, how is she working to support her siblings? Unless she’s sending the money to the parent that has the other kids? Why isn’t she with one of her parents?

nelson

May 29th, 2012
1:08 pm

Do not believe everything you read. The news is accurate 25% of the time.

This story lacks the ring of authenticity to it. It provokes sympathy where none is needed. If she is an honor student she should have the intellect to tell the school why she is absent.

Becky

May 29th, 2012
1:17 pm

I am so glad that the judge has dealt with this hard core criminal, I feel so much safer now..If she is able to do this good while working, does it really matter that she missed the ‘allowed” number of days? So what about kids that are at school every day and still don’t pass? What are they going to do about them?

I would like to know more about her parents and why is she supporting her sibs..

@really? Amen..Rules aren’t meant to be broken, especially ones that don’t make sense in the first place..

Enlightened

May 29th, 2012
1:21 pm

Time to rid ourselves of government. They and they alone stand in the way of society functioning properly.

justmy2cents

May 29th, 2012
1:26 pm

@really- Yes, she did. She made a concious choice, period. Did I say that I thought it was right of the court to punish her? Nope, I did not. But she knew it was a possibility. Matter of fact, the original article tells you she had already seen the judge who told her then to stop missing school. That is why he threw her in jail when she missed school again.

Did she ever go to the school and try to work with them? Why is she supporting her college aged brother? Why is her sister in Houston and not with either parent? Has she considered working less hours? Graduating early? Moving to GA to be with her Mother? Too many questions unanswered.

catlady

May 29th, 2012
1:36 pm

This story does not pass the smell test.

Are there teens who support their siblings? Yes. There parents are disabled or dead, for example. But it seems to me there is a lot missing from this story–it seems implausable at best.

catlady

May 29th, 2012
1:37 pm

“Their” parents. Gosh, I hate when I do that!

snowdogs

May 29th, 2012
1:47 pm

This narcissistic judge is full of it! His pontifications are his need to be everyone’s moral compass yet he appears to have none himself. Anyone involved in this nonsense from the school administrators, arresting officer(s), prosecutor and the judge should be immediately put in cuffs and forced to spend 24 hours in jail with real criminals. As an attorney I see judges get carried away with their own sense of self worth. This judge is a jerk, plain and simple.

Becky

May 29th, 2012
1:56 pm

oops..Rules are meant to be broken..

Voice of Reason

May 29th, 2012
2:12 pm

Sounds like an episode of Shameless

Wm Gaus

May 29th, 2012
2:44 pm

As a youth leader, I was taught and do believe that ENCOURAGING and REWARDING a young person to be responsible and productive is how you create good citizens. WHAT ARE THE SCHOOL BOARD AND JUDGE THINKING??!!

K's Mom

May 29th, 2012
2:56 pm

I would rather time be spent figuring out what to do with students who disrupt class, are lazy, make teaching a job more akin to babysitting and whose parents do nothing about it. If the girl is making straight A’s and is not interfering with the learning of others…let her be an move onto the reprobates.

Jeff

May 29th, 2012
3:53 pm

Catlady, good instinct.

Denise

May 29th, 2012
4:10 pm

On the surface I say “give me a break” to the judge. It makes no sense to give her a day in jail, blah, blah, blah. But I’m feeling a little iffy on the “supporting a brother in college” piece. Why does HE not have a job to support himself while he is in school rather than her working 2 jobs to support him and another sibling while she is in HIGH school? And the parents moving without the children…not ONE of the children…doesn’t make any sense to me either.

dixie

May 29th, 2012
4:12 pm

School funding in Texas is tied to school attendance. For every day a student is absent, the school loses money. One school district in San Antonio, Texas is going to start tracking students by tagging with microchips in their school ID’s, not for safety, but to boost revenue! Medicaid funds are also tied into this for special education students. Follow the money! This is about $$$, not any worry for Diane Tran’s education!

As for emancipation, it costs money. If she had the extra $5000 or so to spend, do you think she would be spending it on that instead of her family?

dixie

May 29th, 2012
4:23 pm

And you know, it could be a cultural thing regarding Diane Tran helping to support her older brother. In some Asian cultures you support the one who is first in school to get his /her degree, and when they graduate they in turn support you. This goes on until all the kids have finished with college. The burden becomes less as the pool of educated siblings gets bigger and more people share the support.

I think it’s unfair to pile on her brother, he is getting an education that in turn could help his two sisters when he graduates. These two kids seem to be doing two things that we always complain kids won’t do in America don’t do anymore, and that is work hard and put family ahead of the individual.

Denise

May 29th, 2012
4:57 pm

@dixie – I’m not piling on her brother; I’m just saying that he could be helping her help him. I understand that this may be a cultural thing that I don’t understand but in my mind, having her arrested because of truancy is not helping her help her family. Her working 2 jobs and being exhausted is going to lead to more truancy. If she continues to be arrested and jailed – which I am sure will happen since the judge is hellbent on making an example of her as he has stated – all of her efforts in school may be for naught and she might lose the jobs that she is sacrificing her schooling for. Also, are we sure that her truancy will not lead her to fail her classes regardless of how good her grades are? What I’m saying is that SHE is a CHILD and she should not be the only one making sacrifices in this family.

As far as wanting children to put the family before the individual, I say that is true to a certain extent. A child’s job is to go to school, do the best he/she can do, learn to be an independent person and an independent thinker and get out. That is my opinion anyway. A CHILD should not be putting the family first in terms of working her butt off to take care of a family when there are PARENTS who are capable of doing so. I’m sorry, I want to know why in the devil the children are not with their dang parents and how in the devil this CHILD became responsible to financially support her whole family to the extent she is now. This is wayyyyyyy past any expectation of “putting the family first” for any child. Again, my opinion.

another comment

May 29th, 2012
7:21 pm

This is one of the side affects of “no child left behind”. My daughter was bullied and beaten up in a Cobb County school. Since then it is very difficult for her to go to school. she is sick alot. I spend alot of money taking her to the doctor for all the excuses. 5th year was pretty good, because we got a transfer to a school with less minority bullies. She even was named a Presidential Scholar of the year. This year I moved to Fulton County selling my house and loosing $300K. We would have faced the same bullies in middle school and I was afraid she would kill her self.

Wouldn’t you know it, even in one of the best cluster’s in Fulton, one of the Apartment Dwellers or line skippers, start bullying her right off the back. She starts putting her feat on my daughter’s desk, book rack. Then it escalates to kicking my daughter’s seat. My daughter started refusing going to school. I told her know she had to go to school. I had already taken her to the Peditrician for headaches, stomaches, etc. $25 co-pay for each excuse and visit. Additionally, she goes weekly to a PHD, and monthly to an MD Shrink, another $225 in Co-pays plus $120 in medication co-pays. They she would still refuse to go to school. One day, she told me just take her to the ER rather than school. They diagnoised her with school aversion, depresion, anxiety. At that point I realized she was being bullied at school again. I took her to school and demanded to see the principal where she finally told the principal that a black girl was kicking her chair and kicking her on a daily basis. She was also threatening that if she told anyone it would get alot worse. The principal, then drags out a spare school desk and sits in it and tells my daughter to show her what the girl is doing, to her. I almost fell out. I could not believe it, that they had a student desk in the Principal office Area for demonstrations on bullying. This obviously was not a new issue. The issue got better for about a week or two. My daughter repeatedly refused to go to the war zone called school. Or when she got their she had the nurse call me to come home. She is smart enough to know how to play the nurse. I repeatedly refuse to come to the nurse. But then she figured out that if you say you can’t breath they make you come pick up your child, or send them via ambulance to the hospital. I took my daughter to the hospital the first time she had a pulse oxgen rate of either 99 or 100 the whole time. Then she starts hyperventalating, the nurse tells her to stop it. They even did an EEG and Xrays it was all made up. So know she wants to come home she tells the nurse she cant breath. The schools are too cheap to pay for a $10 pulse oxgen meter. I have to go get her because they threaten me they will send her by ambulance. I happen to have insurance and the one ambulance company is not a preferrred providered so I would get stuck with several hundered dollars for the 2 mile drive. Those with out insurance, or on Medicaid or Peachcare get it for Free. Every visit to Children’s in $125 for me.

Of course, my child has caught lice twice from school, which she gave to me. The ignorant school district, refused to even send out a letter to all parents about the outbreak which started at the elementary school, let alone do head checks. When my kids went to Catholic School they did mandatory head checks at least twice a year and always sent out letters if even one kid had it.

Then she got sent home with Pink Eye and I was told I had to have treatment and clearance from a doctor before she could come back. I took her to the doctor. The doctor said had pink eye, but it is like a cold, there is no treatment. So what are they talking about. If they want her really not contagious then she will need to be out 2 weeks. I told the eye doctor that she had already missed 36 days. So the doctor, finally just wrote the stupid school a letter that said my daughter had been seen.

Now since 3 of my daughters teacher’s decided to not do a damn thing to help her and just write she misses too much school, yeah due to being bullied in your class, and fear of being killed she is physically sick. I got her a 504 plan, she has ADD and severe Depression. I am about to write the principal and the Fulton County Supt. Avossa for my Voucher for my child with a disability whose needs have not been met in Fulton County Schools. I have no choice, otherwise I fear she will kill herself over the fear of going to school. So this Liberal, ProChoice, Anti-Death Penalty Catholic, wants the Voucher for her child, from Fulton County. The County who can not follow the law on having to give the tax value on what you pay for your house, but instead want to value my house $215K more than I paid for it. They want me to pay over $7,000 in Property taxes. They clearly know the house was sold since the former 90 year old owner was only paying $3,000. My sale at the lower price is even on the property tax records information. They also ignored the homestead exemption I applied for in January.

It doesn’t sound to me like she needs to attend school, but just get the diploma to get into a good college. To get her top 10% admission in the UT Flagship. It wouldn’t happen that the Judges child missed being in the top 10% and didn’t get into the UT Flagship.

Nelson speaks the truth

May 29th, 2012
9:59 pm

@Nelson: yes,sir. Anyone ready to start crying should pause and examine the paucity of facts.

DB

May 29th, 2012
11:35 pm

@another comment: What does this have to do with a student being thrown in jail for missing school? Your diatribe is obviously the result of a great deal of frustration, but throughout your rant, I can’t help but think that your daughter has got your number, but good. You might ask yourself why your daughter seems to get bullied no matter where she goes to school . . .

KJ

May 30th, 2012
12:11 am

DB, that post wasn’t a total loss; I haven’t heard a good story about property taxes in ages.

And yeah, either her daughter is the unluckiest person ever, or… someone is FOS.

george p burdell

May 30th, 2012
12:40 am

“In Texas, parents have a responsibility to insure that their children attend school. A warning notice will be sent to the parents if the child reaches three absences within a four-week period. The parents may be required to attend a conference with school officials to discuss the child’s truant behavior. Additionally, if the absences continue, Section 25.093 of the TEC permits school officials to file a complaint against the parents for “contributing to the student’s non-attendance.” If convicted, the parents can be ordered to pay $500 for each of their child’s unexcused absences.”

So she’s under 18 and has to attend school. Why haven’t the parents been charged in this case since their apparent lack of support is contributing to her truancy.

Also, in Texas, truancy can be 10 days out of the last six months or even less days in a shorter time period. It could be as little as consistently missing a class or showing up late by even a few minutes.

The girl may be an honor student but if she’s missing classes, there’s a good chance her status might be changing.

The judge probably was over the top on this one but the girl had been warned and chose to continue missing classes. So there are no innocent parties in this case.

Augusta

May 30th, 2012
8:28 am

@another Comment – you need to toughen that child up!!! You are allowing her to run instead of facing the bullies. We are bullied ALL OUR LIVES. By bosses, co-workers, etc. It is up to us to raise strong children, no wussies. You are enabling your child’s behavior by ALLOWING her to control you!!!

Teach your child to fight back. To stand up for themselves. “People will treat you they way you allow them to treat you”. Remember those words. Your child needs to learn how to stand up for herself!! Enroll her in Karate classes. She needs some strenght.

We have to take care of ourselves, because no one else will!!!

eyedrd

May 30th, 2012
9:03 am

Instead of learning and understanding her living and family situation, the teachers, the school district, and the judge have failed her, failed to protect her. $75,000 raised and 211,000 online signatures collected. However, another door has opened to her thanks to the generosity of the Americans and the people from other countries.

Houston defense attorney Ned Barnett on Tuesday called the ruling “outrageous” and said “a little discretion should have been used” in the teenager’s case.

“It doesn’t take much discretion to have sympathy for Miss Tran,” Barnett said. “To lock her up is just outrageous.”

Barnett, who is not defending Tran, said the girl likely spent her 24-hour jail sentence at Montgomery County Jail surrounded by suspected murderers, drug addicts and prostitutes. “It’s hard-core,” he said of the jail, noting that past clients whom he has defended described it as “the worst experience of their life.”

Worldwide outpouring support for Diane Tran against the outrageous sentence by Judge Lanny Moriarty

http://eyedrd.org/2012/05/worldwide-outpouring-…

FCM

May 30th, 2012
9:32 am

I read this yesterday and like so many others, I say the State of TX needs to be looking for the parents. She is supporting a YOUNGER sibling??? WTH!!! That younger sibling is her parents responsibilty.

This is exactly what is wrong with society. People do whatever they want and leave the mess for others to take care of (ie the failed marriage, and the kids left to tend themselves). Also why is she supporting the older sib?

He is at Texas A & M at minimum he should working to support his schooling and himself. Not leaving it to this girl to support him.

Also, she could have spoken to her teachers…maybe a work study or something. This is all because the PARENTS were not there to advise her.

BTW the Mom apparently lives here in GA now.

Augusta

May 30th, 2012
9:34 am

The parents should be ashamed!!

FCM

May 30th, 2012
9:34 am

“Sounds like something the GOP would do.”

Actually FOX, conservatives, and the GOP were among the first to say this guy was wrong.

TechSupportdude

May 30th, 2012
10:26 am

First off Conservatives would not say that, heck people like us don’t really care for Public schooling anyway for reasons that i won’t get into since its off topic and FCM is absolutely right to that affect. Still this Judge just floors me, absolutely floors me and the Board of Education, whats the matter the girl is working too much for your liberal tastes? Being to independant? i wonder what politcal affiliation this guy is, what do you bet hes a liberial? The Judge making an example out of her is ubsurd, really whats that that top notch students get harsh treatments while dilinquents in juvie get to have every break possible (and they do). The parents are *explative*, honestly you break up and abandon your child? Personally if it were a perfect world i would have every single public officail involved be recalled immediatly from the School Board, the Sheriff, the DA, the Judge with a Bar Association investigation if its warrented and for using her for a politcal punching bag, and if he turns out he was a big supporter to the schools as in advocating on the Bench on cases then get him for that too. Throw the parents in jail, and have the other siblings go to a relative. The the school should write a writen apology and all of her grades honored and her record expunged or non-existant. I say to all the US states call your Senators and Representives and pass something to prevent this from happening because there are many more kids out there like her unfortunatly with hot headed Judges on the bench.

susie

May 31st, 2012
11:35 am

Am I missing something? Don’t we have labor laws in this country? When my son was in high school, and before he turned 18, he was only allowed to work 20 hours a week during the school year. How is this 17 year old girl working a full time job and a part time job?? Where her parents are is absolutely an issue, but whoever is letting her work all these hours is breaking labor laws, unless there are none in Texas!

jt

May 31st, 2012
3:59 pm

I think, this is the Democratic judge, because they want us to depend on the government. Since, she goes to work, school, support herself and her siblings, and she doesn’t want to depend on the big government, they sent her to jail.

jt

May 31st, 2012
4:06 pm

The school faculties, Judge and attorney had failed her. She went to court in April, and none of these idiots didn’t know why she was missing too many days. They should investigate her situation, and get her some helps. these idiots should be in jail and make example of out them.

Jamie Dimon Sux

June 4th, 2012
9:03 pm

Justice of the Peace Precinct 1 – Judge Lanny Moriarity 936-538-7801