A hard-working, straight-A student has been unfairly prosecuted and jailed for truancy according to one of her employers and she will now have a stain on her educational record.
Diane Tran has been working two jobs to help support siblings since her parents separated and her mother moved out of state. Diane works full time at a dry cleaners and weekends at a wedding-planning venue. Her long hours frequently make her too tired to attend school yet she manages to maintain high grades in Advance Placement, college courses.
The 11th-grade honor student from Willis High School was recently sentenced to 24-hours in jail due to truancy. The Texas state truancy laws state that a student can only have 10 unexcused absences in a six-month period before the school files a complaint in court.
Judge Moriarty, the sentencing judge, told KHOU 11 News that he intended to make an example of Tran.
“If you let one run loose, what are you going to do with the rest of them? Let them go, too?” Moriarty asked the TV station.
“I can understand if a child is staying out of school, running around, a bad kid, getting into trouble, taking drugs,” Mary Elliot, Diane Tran’s boss at her weekend job, told ABC News this weekend. “I can understand why he would slap them into jail for 24 hours. But Diane doesn’t do that. All she does is work and go to school.”
Tran’s classmate, Devon Hill, told the New York Daily News that Tran takes Advanced Placement classes, goes “from job to job” and is frequently up until 7 am.
It was suggested by several that Tran switch to home schooling, however she refused because she wanted to be named among the top-10 students in her class just like her brother.
Despite pleas for leniency given Diane’s situation, the judge has yet to decide whether or not to revoke the sentence which would leave her with a criminal record.
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