Rachel Canning has filed a lawsuit, not against just any third party, but against her father Sean Canning, and her mother, Elizabeth Canning. Her grievance? Ma and Pa threw her out of the home and because she isn’t self-sufficient, they must pay for her college tuition.
According to the Huffington Post on Tuesday, the honor student, cheerleader and lacrosse player at Morris Catholic High School in New Jersey filed her lawsuit last week in state Superior Court in Morristown, seeking a ruling that she is “nonemancipated and dependent as a student on her parents for support.”
The Detroit Free Press picks up this unbelievable story:
Judge Peter Bogaard, sitting in Morristown, has scheduled a hearing for Tuesday. Rachel Canning’s lawyer, Tanya N. Helfand, will ask that parents Sean and Elizabeth Canning, who haven’t paid an outstanding $5,306 Morris Catholic tuition bill, be ordered to settle that debt, pay Rachel’s current living and transportation expenses, and commit an existing college fund to their daughter, who has received acceptance letters from several universities and has to make a decision this spring.
The 18-year-old is unemployed and currently living with her friend Jaime Inglesino in Rockaway Township. Jamie’s father John is not only funding the lawsuit, but is an attorney and is overseeing the entire case.
Rachel says she was tossed from her parent’s home, something that her mom and dad vehemently disagree with.
“We love our child and miss her,” says father Sean Canning. “This is terrible. It's killing me and my wife. We have a child we want home. We're not draconian and now we're getting hauled into court. She's demanding that we pay her bills but she doesn't want to live at home and she's saying ‘I don't want to live under your rules.’”
Sean says his daughter voluntarily left their home last fall, and that they did cease paying Rachel’s current Morris Catholic school tuition and have also kept her car because they own it.
According to Sean, the few rules that Rachel was asked to abide by were simple expectations that any family has – to be respectful of others, be home by a curfew time, return items that were borrowed from family members and do a few chores.
One of the kickers appears to be surrounding a boyfriend. Sean and Elizabeth want their daughter to reconsider, and possible end, a relationship with a boy who they feel is a poor influence on her.
“We’re heartbroken, but what do you do when a child says ‘I don’t want your rules but I want everything under the sun and you to pay for it?’” Sean asked.
But there’s two sides to every story, and Rachel says that on October 29 of last year – her 18th birthday – her parents made it clear that she would be cut off “from all support both financially and emotionally.” She also alleges in court paper that she has been abused. Officials at the Morris Catholic school reportedly advised her not to return home and contacted the state Division of Child Protection and Permanency to investigate.
“My parents have rationalized their actions by blaming me for not following their rules,” Rachel said in her court papers. “They stopped paying my high school tuition to punish the school and me and have redirected my college fund, indicating their refusal to afford me an education as a punishment.”
Sean Canning said that when child protection investigators visited their home, they found no evidence of abusing behavior, and even categorized Rachel as “spoiled.” They discontinued their investigation.