Texas Judges Making International News (Not in a Good Way) as Honor Student Tossed in Jail For Excessive Tardies – She’s Been Working 2 Jobs to Support Her Siblings and Has Straight A’s.
This week, national and in some instances international coverage is following the action of a Texas judge down near Houston and it’s not exactly the best of news for the State of Texas legal system. Controversial in some instances, the stories are doing little to boost the reputation of the Texas judiciary and the State of Texas system of justice as a whole – in fact, there’s growing outrage worldwide:
Texas Judge Throws Honor Student Working Two Jobs Into Jail For Truancy
Diane Tran, a 17 year old high school honor student at Willis High School near Houston, was sent to jail by Texas District Judge Lanny Moriarty because Tran had missed too many school days under the Texas Penal Code prohibitions against truancy. Texas law limits unexcused absences from school to 10 over a six month time period; Tran exceeded the 10 unexcused absence limit but it’s not clear by how much.
Judge Moriarty has admitted that Tran’s case was used as an “example” to other students. The New York Daily News reports that Tran doesn’t skip days, she’s just tardy sometimes because she’s exhausted. A straight-A student in honors classes, she will stay up all night getting homework done. Remember, she’s 17 years old here. Fox News points out that Tran spent her 24 hour stay in the Montgomery County Jail with the general population, this would include those charged with felonies like murder along with allegations of drug-related crimes, etc.
This story continues to spread: additional coverage can be found at the Huffington Post; Great Britain’s Telegraph; Australia’s Sidney Morning Herald; and more. Texas Judge Moriarty never looks good, and on more than one occasion the connection between his surname and the evildoer in the Sherlock Holmes series is noted.
ABC-News/Good Morning America covered the story, interviewing one of Diane Tran’s employers who explained that the girl works two jobs to support her siblings, one a full-time job and another part-time job on the weekends. Seems Tran keeps up honors’ level grades while working lots of hours and taking care of her brother and sister. Tran lives with her part-time employer; her parents are alive but separated. Some news reports have them divorced. Tran’s mother is out of state; her father works lots of hours, too, according to the employer, though other reports are confusing about how much either parent is providing for the kids.
Public Support for Diane Tran Growing
Lots of people are not only upset about what has happened to Diane Tran, they are taking steps to do something about it.
Money is being raised to help her. A website set up by the Louisiana Children’s Education Alliance reports it has already received over $89,000 from people in over 14 different countries and all but one of the 50 United States to help this young girl. If you want to know more about this, go here and visit the site, www.helpdianetran.com.
Change.org has a petition to sign set up online, go here to check it out. The petition asks that Tran’s sentence be revoked and her $100 fine returned to her. At the time of this post, the petition had 233,882 signatures.
What About the Parents?
Who would think to place into a county jail cell for excessive TARDIES a 17 year old honor student responsible enough to keep up a straight-A report card in college preparatory classes and work around 60 hours a week to provide for herself and her brother and sister? No wonder there is growing outrage at this Texas Judge. Here’s a question: did the court consider bringing in the father (and try to find the mother) of these kids to ask them what they’re doing or not doing here?
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