Texas: Abandoned minor jailed for trying to support siblings

Diane Tran is not white, but she is assuredly not black or Hispanic, and that is perhaps why Texas threw this Grade 11 student in jail rather than provide her with the necessary counselling and assistance for her to be able to attend school and at the same time help to support her brother and sister.

In times gone by, children were often pulled out of school to help out at home.  This child is voluntarily trying to help and attend school at the same time, surely a good candidate for such state assistance as may be available.

While her choices have not necessarily been good ones, it seems clear that her mother and father are being derelict in their duties, so why does Texas not go after them?  One thing is clear, and that is that Ms. Tran’s heart and motivation are clearly in the right place. 

Did it not occur to anyone to check on why she was having difficulty attending classes?  Did nobody in authority think of sitting her down and enquiring about the reasons for her poor attendance?  And if they did, then why was appropriate action not taken? 

Diane Tran is a minor, not an adult.  Texas has just scored itself a lot of bad press.

Jeff Goodall.

Honour student jailed for missing class

Toronto Sun
QMI Agency: May 30th, 2012

Playing hooky is illegal in Texas, where a 17-year-old honour student who works full time and supports her siblings was recently sentenced to jail for missing class.

Last month, Judge Lanny Moriarty sentenced Diane Tran, a Grade 11 student in Houston, to 24 hours behind bars and a $100 fine.

“If you let one (truant student) run loose, what are you gonna do with the rest of ’em? Let them go too?” Moriarty told KHOU.com.  (See link below).

Tran told KHOU she’s often late and absent because she’s exhausted from working a full-time job and a part-time job ever since her parents split up “out of the blue” and both moved away, leaving her in Willis, Texas.

She also helps to pay for her older brother’s university education and helps financially support her baby sister, who lives with relatives in Houston.

Tran lives with the family who owns the wedding venue where she works. Her other job is at a dry cleaner’s.

“She goes from job to job, from school she stays up ’til 7 o’clock in the morning,” Devin Hill, Tran’s friend, co-worker and classmate, said.

Under Texas law, if a student has 10 or more unexcused absences in a 10-month period, the school can refer them to a juvenile court.
See original here.

See “Honor student placed in jail for tardiness and truancy at school” (KHOU.com) here.

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