The story of 17-year-old Diane Tran, an honor roll student in Willis, Texas, made headlines last week when a judge ordered her to spend 24 hours in prison for truancy.
Only, Tran wasn’t just skipping school to sleep in and watch television all day. She was busy holding down two jobs in order to support herself and her siblings, a task that landed on her shoulders after her parents separated. Tran’s mother moved out of state following the split and her father worked so late, on many nights he did not come home leaving her to care for her younger brother and sister.
However, not everyone is as heartless as the Texas judge determined to make an example of Tran. When the Louisiana Children’s Education Alliance heard about the girl’s predicament they set up a website, HelpDianeTran.com, in order to raise money for the teen.
“We saw her trying to work and trying to go to school and trying to do all these things and then to have the judge put her in jail for missing school just seemed a little harsh,” Paul Dietzel, a representative of the organization, told ABC News.
The website raised a total of $100,000 for the girl, but here’s the shocking part. When Tran learned about the funds raised to help support her family she declined to accepted them. “There’s some other kid out there struggling more … than me,” she said.
Is this kid a saint, or what? How many teenagers out there would work two jobs in the aftermath of their parents’ marriage disintegrating, care for their siblings, and still manage to make decent grades in school and then refuse money that would allow them to decrease the frenetic pace of their life?
There’s no word yet on what will become of the money raised for Tran, but her attorney has reportedly met with the judge that sentenced the girl to jail time and convinced him to reverse his decision.