Another case of how crazy the world can get is the story of a New Jersey teenager who is suing her parents. Claiming she was forced out of their home, the teen feels she is entitled to financial support to cover private-school tuition, automobile and room and board.
Rachel Canning, a Morris Catholic High School senior, claims that mom and pop are still responsible for her despite the fact that she left home two days before her 18th birthday. The oldest daughter of Sean and Elizabeth Canning claims she was forced out. Her parents maintain that Rachel left of her own freewill.
Rachel, a cheerleader at the school, is crying “abandonment” by her parents. Her dad insists that Rachel is a “spoiled” liar and didn’t seem to understand the age-old maxim of, “As long as you live in my house, you will follow my rules.”
The whole trouble started on November 1, 2013, when Rachel left her home in Morris County, New Jersey to go and stay with a friend and the friend’s family. The teen states that her folks sent her packing by cutting her off “emotionally and financially.”
According to her father, Rachel left after she refused to do her chores, return items belonging to her sister and be respectful to other family members. “We love our child…” said Canning. “This is killing me and my wife.”
Court papers filed by the teenager say that her parents stopped paying high school tuition to “punish” the school and have “redirected” the teen’s college fund. Rachel believes that this indicates a refusal on her parent’s part to afford her an education.
Morris Catholic High School, where Rachel attends, is taking the side of the grade A student. According to school personnel, her parents already owe $5306. With late fees added on since the feud started, the bill might go even higher. Rachel, who aspires to be a biomedical engineer, filed the lawsuit last week in Superior Court seeking a judge’s decision that she is non-emancipated and dependent on her parents for support.
Both sides of this dispute will stand before Morristown Judge Peter Bogaard later today. Tanya Helfand, Rachel Canning’s attorney, will be asking that Rachel’s parents be order to settle the tuition bill at the school as well as cover Rachel’s living expenses.
The parents had already covered tuition up to December 31 of last year, but haven’t taken out the checkbook since Rachel left. Morris Catholic administrators says that Rachel is still attending the school and won’t kick her out for unpaid tuition.
School president, Michael St. Pierre, wrote to the court that Rachel has superb grades and “…will not be removed…” from the school for nonpayment. However, the school is holding her parents responsible for the contractual obligation to pay.
Since the dispute started between the “spoiled” teenager and her parents, Rachel has been living in Rockaway with a friend from school, Jaime Inglesino. Inglesino’s father, John Inglesino is covering the cost of the lawsuit and has also filed a request with the court that Rachel’s parents pay their daughters legal fees that total so far $12,597.
While many teens have probably thought about suing their parents, sources say that Rachel Canning is the first to do it in a long time.
By Jerry Nelson