A Houston honor student was thrown behind bars for 24 hours and ordered to pay a $100 fine after missing too many days of school.
Diane Tran, a junior at Willis High School, has been working two jobs to help support her siblings since her parents separated.
Texas law allows only 10 absences over six months.
“If you let one run loose, what are you going to do with the rest of them? Let them go, too?” asked Judge Lanny Moriarity, defending his decision. The ruling came just a month after Tran had been warned about her absences.
Houston defense attorney Ned Barnett has called the case “outrageous.”
“It doesn’t take much discretion to have sympathy for Miss Tran. To lock her up is just outrageous,” he said.
After the news of Tran’s case received national attention, a website was started for the 17-year-old. The group running the site, Louisiana Children’s Education Alliance, has raised more than $80,000 for Tran.
“I think Diane unfortunately is at the center of two failed systems in America — our public education system and our judicial system,” observed Charlie Davis, the group’s president.