Willis High School junior Diane Tran was warned last month not to cut anymore classes, but after she skipped school again this month, Tran was summoned to appear in court and arrested upon arrival.
Tran says her parents divorced without warning and moved out of state, leaving her behind in Willis. Her plate already brimming with advanced placement and dual-credit college-level courses, Tran has been forced to work full-time at a dry cleaners and part-time at a wedding venue to help support a brother in college and a baby sister living with relatives in Houston.
But her personal problems did not concern the fittingly surnamed Judge Lanny Moriarty, who readily admitted to making an example of Tran. "If you let one (truant student) run loose, what are you gonna' do with the rest of ‘em? Let them go too?" Moriarty told local reporters. "A little stay in the jail for one night is not a death sentence."
Perhaps not, but it could still have a profound impact on Tran's future.
"Now this girl's got a record, which could hamper her later in life," said Woodlands resident David Byrne, one of many who reached out to assist the teen after her plight went public. Tran's employers, with whom she currently resides, are also setting up a fund to help out.