An eleventh grader in Texas was thrown in jail – just for missing school.
However, honour student Diane Tran, 17, is no lazy truant. In fact, she’s quite the opposite.
Since her parents divorced and left her and her two siblings, she has been the sole breadwinner and works two jobs to keep the family afloat.
Ms Tran said she works a full time job, a part-time job, and takes advancement and dual credit college level courses at Willis High School.
‘[I take] dual credit U.S. history, dual credit English literacy, college algebra, Spanish language AP,’ she says of her impressive academic workload.
However, the high-achiever cannot devote as much time as she would like to her schooling as she often misses an entire day, reports KHOU.
Ms Tran says that her parents divorced ‘out of the blue,’ leaving her and her two siblings to fend for themselves.
‘I always thought our family was happy,’ she said.
Now, it’s up to Ms Tran to support her siblings, who include an older brother at Texas A&M University and a younger sister who lives with relatives.
Local authorities are using Ms Tran’s case to crackdown on truancy.
Judge Lanny Moriarty ordered the exhausted student to pay a $100 fine and spend 24 hours in jail as a lesson.
ATTENDANCE IS MANDATORY: TEXAS TRUANCY LAWS
According to Texas state law, students who are absent from school without parental consent for three days in a four-week period or ten or more days in a six-month period are subject to prosecution.
Parents of children who miss excessive amounts of school may also be prosecuted.
‘If you let one [truant student] run loose, what are you gonna’ do with the rest of ’em? Let them go too?’ asked Judge Moriarty.
He had warned her last month to stop missing her classes.
Ms Tran’s employer at the Waverly Manor wedding venue, where Tran works during the weekend, suggested that the authorities should ‘help [the family], don’t harm them’.
Ms Tran also works full-time at a dry cleaners. Her co-worker and classmate Devin Hill told the network how hard her friend works.
‘She goes from job to job, from school, she stays up ’til 7 o’clock in the morning to study’ she said.
On the homepage of the school’s website, there is a warning to students to be vigilant about their attendance.
‘Should a student have multiple unexcused absences and a pattern of failing to attend school regularly, the law is clear that the matter becomes the jurisdiction of the court system,’ it states.
However, locals are arguing that Ms Tran’s case is unique and should be treated with more leniency.
Ms Tran, in the meantime, is worried this could mar her future ambitions – she one day hopes to become a doctor.