Community Comes to Aid of Jailed Texas Honor Student

PHOTO: Diane Tran was ordered to spend 24 hours in jail for missing school.
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A 17-year-old Texas honors student who was jailed for missing too much school because she had to work two jobs to support her siblings, refused to accept the more than $100,000 a website raised for her.

"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," said Paul Dietzel, who helped raise the money for Diane Tran. HelpDianeTran.com is a project of the Louisiana Children's Education Alliance.

But Tran didn't want the money: "There's some other kid out there struggling more ... than me," she said.

The 11th-grader's story sparked national outrage last week after a Houston judge charged her with contempt and sent her to jail after 10 unexcused absences in a six-month period, which is the law in the state of Texas.

"If you let one of them run loose, what are you going to do with the rest of them?" Judge Lanny Moriarty told KHOU TV. "A little stay at the jail is not a death sentence," he said.

After Tran's parents got divorced, supporting her older brother and younger sister fell to her. Her mother relocated out of state and her father often worked too late to come home, according to Mary Elliot, Diane Tran's boss at her weekend job.

After going to school from 7 a.m. – 2 p.m., Tran worked full-time at a dry cleaner's. On weekends, she helped Elliot throw weddings. Tran said that some mornings it was just hard to get out of bed.

"I can understand if a child is staying out of school, running around, a bad kid, getting into trouble, taking drugs," said Elliot. "I can understand why he would slap them into jail for 24 hours. But Diane doesn't do that. All she does is work and go to school."

Tran's attorney, Brian Wice, told ABC News that he met with the Moriarty and convinced him to reverse his decision and drop the contempt charge, hoping to clear Tran's record.

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