UPDATE, JUNE 1, 2012:
Judge dismisses contempt charges against truant honor student Diane Tran
CONROE, Texas – According to KHOU 11 News, a Montgomery County judge has dismissed contempt charges and all charges cleared against a 17-year-old honor student at Willis High School.
Diane Tran, a 17-year-old, Vietnamese honor student in Texas, was forced to spend the night in jail last week after missing too many classes
In an interview with KHOU-11, Tran said she takes AP Spanish, college level algebra and dual credit English and history courses.
According to KHOU-11, Judge Lanny Moriarty said last month Diane Tran was in his Justice of the Peace court for truancy and he warned her then to stop missing school.
But Tran recently missed classes again so Wednesday the judge issued a summons and had her arrested in open court when she appeared.
Moriarty ordered Tran to spend 24 hours in jail and pay a $100 fine. The judge admitted that he wants to make an example of Tran.
“If you let one run loose, what are you gonna’ do with the rest of ‘em?,” said Judge Lanny Moriarty. “Let them go too? A little stay in the jail for one night is not a death sentence.”
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,” stated on the website of the Willis Independent School District.
Her classmates said her punishment did not fit the crime. “It’s ridiculous,” said Ashley Davis, a Willis High School student. Taylor Lowery, another student, agreed. “I don’t agree with it. I think it’s ridiculous. It’s one thing to give her hours to make up but not to throw her in jail,” she said.
There is a petition at change.org to urge Judge Lanny Moriarty to cancel Diane Tran’s fine and sentencing due to her irregular circumstances.
Tran’s case has spread over dozen online outlets and mainstream media. A Facebook page, facebook.com/HelpDianeTran, has been setup and HelpDianeTran.com, a site set up by the Louisiana Children’s Education Alliance in partnership with Anedot and Gatorworks, has raised over $28,000.