Eighteen-year-old Rachel Canning caught the eye of the nation when she tried to sue her parents for thousands of dollars.
Canning was a high school senior, honor student, cheerleader and lacrosse player at Morris Catholic High School in New Jersey with a lot on her plate, but that’s not what had CNN to E! News talking.
The controversial lawsuit began when Canning filed paperwork stating that on her 18th birthday in November, her parents kicked her out and eliminated any and all parental support, both financially and emotionally. Canning said as she cannot provide for herself, she sought the judge’s approval to be un-emancipated, meaning her parents would be required by law to support her financially even if she was outside their control.
The 18-year-old also reported that she left home because of ongoing abuse from her parents. After reporting it to the school, New Jersey’s Division of Child Protection and Permanency (DCPP) was called to open an investigation on the household.
The high school senior was suing her parents for outstanding private high school tuition, immediate housing and transportation expenses, future college fund that she said was relocated after she was kicked out, and the attorney fees for the ongoing lawsuit.Her parents had a different story.
Sean Canning, Rachel’s father and retired Lincoln Park Police Chief, said that Rachel moved out of the house voluntarily in October because she did not want to follow the household rules including a curfew and breaking up with her boyfriend who her parents found to be a bad influence.
Her parents stated that Rachel and her boyfriend were suspended for truancy in October, according to a report by CNN, and that she had a history of concerning behavior, from drinking, losing her captaincy on the school cheerleading squad, and being kicked out of the school’s campus ministry.
Sean and Elizabeth Canning denied all claims of abuse and expressed how much they missed their daughter. The report from New Jersey’s Division of Child Protection and Permanency (DCPP) declared that after hours of interviewing and observing Rachel, her parents, and her sisters, there was no evidence of abuse.
Rachel requested an emergency order that entitled her to $650 from her parents each week in child support, living expenses, the existing charges for her private school tuition and then future college tuition as well.
During the first round hearing in the lawsuit, which took place on March 4, Rachel was denied immediate financial assistance from her parents by family court judge Peter Bogaard.
“Do we want to establish a precedent where parents live in basic fear of establishing rules of the house?” he said in regards to denying Rachel’s request, according to the New York Daily News.
Although she lost the first round in court, Rachel earned much more soon after. She was granted a $56,000 scholarship to Western New England University in Springfield, Massachusetts where she will study biomedical engineering.
On March 11 Rachel moved back in with her parents and dropped the lawsuit against them the very next day, USA Today reports.
The results of this case prove parents do, after all, have the right to use their discretion to guide their children, identify misbehavior and apply consequences.