17-year-old Diane Tran, an 11th grade honor student at Willis High School, is exhausted. She works a full-time job, a part-time job and takes advanced placement and dual credit college level courses. Her parents are out of the picture and she's trying to support her siblings.
It sounds like what she could really use is a break. But this judge saw it as a simple case of a girl cutting class too many times, and was more interested in making "an example" out of a truant student:
The judge ordered Tran to spend 24 hours in jail and pay a $100 fine. Judge Moriarty admitted that he wants to make an example of Tran.This is bullshit. How about showing a little compassion? What Diane Tran really needs is some help -- not to be made an example of. Great, you made her spend Wednesday night in jail. Does that really solve all the responsibilities she's juggling right now?
"If you let one (truant student) run loose, what are you gonna' do with the rest of 'em? Let them go too?" Judge Moriarty asked.
Tran said she is working so hard because she is helping to support an older brother who attends Texas A&M University and a baby sister who lives with relatives in Houston. Tran said her parents divorced "out of the blue" and both moved away, leaving her in Willis. Her mother lives in Georgia, she said.
"I always thought our family was happy," the teen said tearfully.
The case now has received national attention, with people across the country expressing their support and offering to help Diane Tran -- people with a lot more empathy than Judge Lanny Moriarty could muster up: People across the country offer help to honor student jailed for truancy.
UPDATE: Here's the petition to Judge Lanny Moriarty, on behalf of Diane Tran: Lanny Moriarty, Justice of the Peace (Precinct 1): Revoke the fine and sentencing of honors student Diane Tran.
A quick Google search also turns up this effort to raise money for Diane Tran and her family: Help Diane Tran. Also see the Help Diane Tran Facebook page.
And for your reference, here's Judge Lanny Moriarty's contact information, in case you want to get in touch and tell him how you feel about Diane Tran's situation. Use it wisely.