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. $89,000 raised and 234,000 online signatures collected.
When judge Lanny Moriarty sentenced Diane Tran, 17 year-old honor student, to jail for 24 hours last Wednesday for truancy to make an example out of her, a door seemed to close to her. Furthermore, he fined her $100, which is a huge sum for her.
However, another door has opened to her thanks to the generosity of the Americans and the people from other countries. The outpouring of support for Tran has been phenomenal. KHOU 11 News has heard from people from around the nation and the world who want to help the earnest and hard-working honors student.
For reasons still unknown why her divorced parents decided to leave Willis city, throwing condemnation is premature. Her younger sibling stays with the relatives in Houston, her older brother attends Texas A&M University, she is sheltered by a lady she works for. Diane Tran is the product of her parents’ upbringing and has picked the responsibility to support her older and younger siblings.
Mary Elliot, owner of Vineyards of Waverly Manor, where Tran works, told FoxNews.com that Tran is a “straight-A student” and “exceptionally good kid” who takes college-level courses and has a strong work ethic. Elliot said the teenager should never have been arrested and forced to spend the night in jail.
“Her family has taught her a good work ethic,” Elliot said. “Her brother was No. 8 in his class. She wants to do better than that.”
“We need to change what they do to these kids in the school,” she said. “They need to look at their records instead of just judge them as bad kids.”
Tran said she has missed about three days of school a month because she is so exhausted from working a full-time and part-time job all while earning As in advanced placement, and college-level dual credit courses at Willis High School in order to support her two siblings. She missed about 18 days. 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. These people are in the power position, who should have advocated on her behalf with the social services, charity organizations, and the parents; instead they let her live in that condition and made her a criminal.
Would the police stop a speeding car carrying a woman in labor on the way to the hospital and give a ticket or escort the car as fast as he can to get to the hospital? It is all about human understanding and compassion!
Fortunately, her relatives take care of the younger sibling, and her boss has sheltered her. Now, the injustice imposed on her by the system has both outraged and touched the people’s hearts. In this downturn economic condition, people from 49 states of the USA and 15 countries have responded to the fundraising campaign http://helpdianetran.com/, launched by Louisiana Children’s Education Alliance in collaboration with Anedot, Gatorworks.net, and NorseCorp in order to ensure that collected money will go to Diane Tran.
Charlie Davis, President of the Louisiana Children’s Education Alliance, said, “Our hearts broke when we read Diane’s story. It’s bad enough that she’s the victim of the failing public education system, but for the judicial system to attempt to use her as ‘an example’ to others is reprehensible.”
Paul Dietzel, founder of Anedot, a fundraising service helping the children’s foundation with raising the money, told the Los Angeles Times that the foundation was working with one of Diane’s bosses to set up a trust fund for the money.
“There’s still some legalities being determined with exactly how the trust of account should be set up in order to protect Diane and make sure she doesn’t get a huge tax burden, so they’re still working out the details on that, but they’re for sure going from the [Louisiana Children’s Education Alliance] and an account set up for Diane,” he said.
Dietzel said Diane and her boss weren’t taking interview requests until the end of Thursday, when Diane’s final exams are over.
The alliance, which says it will donate 100% of the money to Diane, says anyone with questions about the effort can call (504) 222-2920.
In less than 4 days of campaign, $89,000 has been raised and a petition on Change.org calling for the judge to annul his sentence and fine has collected more than 234,000 online signatures.
Despite the worldwide condemnation about the unjust and harsh sentence, judge Lanny Moriarty offers “no comment.”
KHOU 11 News legal analyst Gerald Treece pointed out that Tran did not go to jail on a truancy charge. It’s a Class C misdemeanor and not a jail-able offense. But contempt of court is, and that’s the charge on her record. The contempt is for violating a previous court order to not to miss school.
“When you apply to college, or when you go to grad school, they ask if you have ever been convicted of anything.—I mean anything folks, and being in contempt of a judge, contempt of court is something that requires a lot of explaining,” Treece said.
State law requires all Texas school districts to report excessive absences, but the judge in this case, or any other, has the power to be lenient.
“Is it a violation of the law, yes. We’re not talking about if it’s a violation of the law. We’re talking about is the punishment appropriate and proportional to what she did wrong,” Treece said.
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.”
Source from KHOU Houston and Fox News