A story out of Texas has us wondering where the line is between the letter of the law and common sense.
Diane Tran spent a night in jail last week because she had more than 10 unexcused absences.
Tran works a full-time job, a part-time job and takes advanced placement and dual credit college level courses, according to KHOU TV in Houston. She helps support two siblings.
"She goes from job to job from school," Devin Hill, one of Tran's classmates, told KHOU-11. "She stays up until 7:00 in the morning doing her homework."
The judge said he wants to make an example of the girl. "If you let one (truant student) run loose, what are you gonna' do with the rest of 'em? Let them go too?"
Of course, the student already is an example.
They tend to be a bit harsh in Texas, don't they. Doesn't Texas lead the nation in executions too?
My advice to Ms. Tran is to get out of Texas as soon as she graduates with honors and come to Minnesota. Nearly anywhere but Texas, for that matter.
Bob - Ever considered a subject file category "If It Wasn't In Texas, You Wouldn't Believe It"?
Or perhaps "Still More Reasons We Should Support Texas' Attempts to Secede From The Union."
The public school system is oft not capable of handling high achievers.
The system is build to ensure every one moves that the same pace, no matter how hard they work, or how much they slack off.
MN has the PSOE program which actually allows students to take a risk, work harder, and move ahead. But even here until you are in High School the only way to really get ahead is to skip a grade (a process that involves more educators and parents effort then their own.)
Special ed. students have something written up for them called an I.E.P. (individual education profile) I believe every student should have something similar written up for them. Their teachers, parents, and eventually the student should collaborate on how best to move the student forward in their education, and then drive towards that plan. The one size fits all "0 tolerance" efforts are ridiculous, and are a good reason why we need to give local control back to our educators and stop legislating how to interact with, and how to teach students.
What bothers most besides the fact she uses her earnings to support her siblings is the fact that he thought it was okay to take these 24 hours out of her life and to fine her $100 which at the Texas minimum wage is about 2 days work before taxes so not only can she not give this money to her siblings but she could not earn anything during that time too.
It's lovely to see the extent to which a family will go to try to help each other out. My own father grew up in a particularly large farm family and despite being the top students in their district, one by one, all of the first 6 brothers had to drop from school to work the farm and work towards the day when one of them could attend college. Luckily for my father, this honor fell on him. I see Ms Tran as being like his brothers. Fortunately her own dreams will not be crushed as it was for my wonderful uncles.
I've read other accounts too that Justice Moriarty was much more lenient with student athletes who were truants. What kind of a message does it send to kids when someone with a bright future is given no leniency while others who are not necessarily working towards a lofty goal are given a free pass.
As penance, the justice should take an unpaid leave of absense for two weeks; take a course and undertake 1 & 1/2 menial jobs while donating that money to charity. Let's see how much energy he'd have. My sense is he'd have a very difficult time getting up in the morning too.
The two good things that have come from this are: a) Ms Tran's plight has opened the door to other opportunities as I understand Stanford university has reached out to her and b) Justice Moriarty has given his next opponent when running for justice of the peace all sorts of ammunition to defeat him.
@jon: not to disagree with your other points, but this situation seems less like the public school system failing the student and more like that particular judge making a bad call in this case.
I'm also having a hard time figuring out how she could be described as "running loose."
At age 17, what possible right does a court have to jail her for truancy when she's at an age when she could legally drop out?
Everything is bigger in Texas. Including their mistakes.
Thank goodness we live in a country where we have judges who will stand up and do the right thing. If we let this "student" run loose anymore who knows what might happen with all that free time. She might get another 1/2 time job and take away from some real student who only missed 9 days, or what if she takes an extra online class, oh the horror. Thank you Judge Moriarty, you have made America safe. I will sleep better tonight knowing that in TX there is a girl who won't be going to her jobs, and won't be supporting her family, but most important, she won't be allowed to run loose with the rest of em.
"At age 17, what possible right does a court have to jail her for truancy when she's at an age when she could legally drop out?"
Mark, in TX you can't legally drop-out until 18. see:
In areas where it is legal to drop-out at 16, one needs parental permission.. hers are gone. Double whammy!