Rachel Canning, an 18-year-old senior in a private Catholic high school has filed suit in Superior Court in New Jersey to pay back bills on her high school tuition and to give her access to her college fund. Rachel turned 18 last fall. After her 18th birthday she moved in with the family of her best friend (whose father happens to be an attorney who is funding this lawsuit). She has been attending school since that time and is an honor student.
Her parents claim that she wasn’t following the rules of the household. They say she wasn’t doing her chores, wasn’t coming home by her set curfew, was disrespectful, didn’t treat her sisters very well, and there seems to be an issue with a boyfriend that her parents don’t particularly care for. They believe he is a “bad influence”.
Sean Canning said that a DCP&P representative visited his home for about three hours last fall, found nothing amiss, determined that Rachel was “spoiled” and discontinued the investigation. He said that he and his wife are beside themselves that discord with their daughter has reached this level.
Attorney Laurie Rush-Masuret, who represents the parents, said in court papers that Rachel emancipated herself and removed herself from her parent’s “sphere of influence” by voluntarily moving out of their house “as she did not want to abide by her parents’ rules….”
Rush-Masuret and Sean Canning said that Rachel was seeing a therapist long before moving out and is supposed to take medication. The parents contend she had disciplinary problems at school last term, was suspended twice, ignored her curfew at home and bullied her younger sister.
This in many ways boils down to our house, our rules. Virtually every young adult has heard that coming from at least one of their parents. But how far does the responsibility of parenting go once the child has turned of legal age? She is still in high school so it does seem fair to me that her parents pay the back tuition of the school they had her enrolled in before this incident took place. That seem very reasonable to me. But she kind of loses me when it comes to the college education.