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What Will Happen To Our Youth If New Jersey Teen Wins Lawsuit Against Parents?

Rachel Canning

Rachel Canning, right, sits with her friend Jamie Inglesino during a hearing at the Morris County Courthouse, Tuesday, March 4, 2014, in Morristown, N.J. Canning, an honor student who says her parents kicked her out of the house when she turned 18, is now suing them, asking a court to make them support her and pay for her college. (AP Photo/The Star-Ledger, John O’Boyle, Pool)

Rachel Canning is an 18 year old senior at Morris Catholic High School.  According to reports, on paper Rachel is picture perfect: honor roll, on the cheerleading squad, plays lacrosse, plans to become a biomedical engineer and the cherry on top is she received a $20,000 scholarship from the University of Vermont.

So, why is this young girl suing her parents? Reports claim she is seeking immediate financial support and wants to force her parents to pay for her college education and more than $5,000 owed for her last semester at Morris Catholic High School. She also wants a judge to declare that she’s non-emancipated and dependent as a student on her parents for support.

On October 30th, days before Rachel’s 18th birthday, she left home.  Apparently, the choice was given, “If you don’t like the rule move out.”  According to Rachel’s parents the rules are pretty simple: be respectful, keep curfew and do chores.  Those seem pretty reasonable, yet it is the last rule that is the kicker, “end relationship with boyfriend.”

Rachel’s parents felt her boyfriend was a bad influence. Her behavior over the past year was in question.  Reports documented, “one or two school suspensions, drinking, losing her captaincy on the cheerleading squad and being kicked out of the campus ministry.”

Judge Peter Bogaard, told the Cannings, “they should have tried to get help for their daughter instead of cutting her off.” He has scheduled a hearing for next month to decide whether to require her parents to pay for Canning’s college tuition.

Court documents filed by Rachel Canning alleged that her parents abandoned her. But her lawsuit stopped short of seeking full emancipation from them – if that connection is removed, her parents would cease to have an obligation toward their daughter.

“We’re being sued by our child,” Sean Canning Christine Sloan Monday. “I’m dumbfounded. So is my wife, so are my other daughters.”

Where is Rachel now?  Since leaving home Rachel has been staying with her best friend’s family.  The friend’s father, John Inglesino, is paying for the lawsuit because, “they fear Rachel will lose opportunities for a strong education and a happy future without her parent’s contributions.”

Bogaard said, “The question of public policy must be considered, as the case might set a precedent in which children can flout their parents’ rules and then demand money from them.”

Please comment on your feelings below: Should her parents have fought harder for her? Should they have given up on her? Should they be forced to pay for college? What will this do to the youth of today if she wins?

What Will Happen To Our Youth If New Jersey Teen Wins Lawsuit Against Parents?

The Associated Press contributed to the facts of this article.

About Destaney Peters