Many times you run across a news story that makes you say, “Well, that’s really stupid.” Other times you find ones that make you say, “Well, that’s really cool.”
You get a little of both in the plight of Diane Tran, a 17 year-old honor student out of Willis, Texas.
First the stupid.
Diane, a junior at Willis High School, comes from a broken home. Her parents moved away after divorcing and she works two jobs to support herself and help provide for her two siblings—an older brother and younger sister.
This is a kid with brains—excelling in courses like AP Spanish, college level algebra and dual credit English and history classes—along with a heck-of-a work ethic and family devotion.
Unfortunately, the life she leads causes her miss class from time to time, which landed her in jail:
Texas law stipulates that a student with ten or more unexcused absences within a six-month period, can be referred to juvenile court by the school district. Once in court, it’s up to the judge to look at the case and decide what action, if any, to take.
In Diane’s case, Judge Lanny Moritary thought she should be made an example of, gave her a night in the county jail and fined her $100 bucks. Stupid.
But now comes the cool part.
Others also thought that Diane should serve as an example—only one to emulate. HelpDianeTran.com was created by the Louisiana Children’s Education Alliance in partnership with Anedot and Gatorworks and has raised, as of this writing, more than $80,000 to make Diane’s life easier.
Not too shabby.
There is a Facebook page as well as a petition at Change.org to get the judge to revoke the fine and otherwise remove the incident from Diane’s record. So far, about a quarter of a million people have signed the petition.
Will the judge do the right thing? Hard to say. He seems to have dug in his heels to not appear “soft.” He should worry more about continuing to appear stupid.