After 18-year-old Rachel Canning, a high school student at Morristown, N.J.’s Morris Catholic High School, filed a lawsuit against her parents for high school and college tuition, the story went viral. Now, just days after the lawsuit was filed and Opposing Views first reported on it, a judge has made a preliminary decision not to make her parents pay.
Superior Court Judge Robert Bogaard turned down Canning’s emergency request to receive $600 per month in financial support from her parents, as well as her request to make them settle a $5,306 tuition bill for her private high school. He also denied her request to make her parents pay the legal fees. A hearing is set for April 22, where the matter of college tuition will be revisited.
“Do we want to establish a precedent where parents are living in constant fear of establishing basic rules of the house?” asked Judge Bogaard.
The battle between the 18-year-old and her parents is heated. According to reports, the young woman moved out of her parents' home back in October, though the reason behind this decision is not clear. Canning says that once she turned 18, her parents kicked her out on her own and told her they wouldn’t support her anymore. The parents make a different claim, however, maintaining that she ran away from home and has since denied their attempts to bring her back.
Rachel Canning and her attorneys claim that the girl’s home was abusive, but Sean Canning and his wife vehemently deny these accusations.
“We’re good parents,” Sean Canning said. “We have nothing to hide.”
The New Jersey Bar Association’s Brian Schwartz told ABC News that Canning has a long uphill battle ahead of her and that she may not win in the end.
“If you have a child who was in a home environment which was unsafe for her, whether it be emotionally or physically, and she fled the house for safe harbor, then she is going to be entitled to support from mom and dad,” said Schwartz. “If, on the other hand, she voluntarily decided to leave and now is looking for someone else to pay the freight, she may have a harder time. There comes the question as to when parents have the right to say, ‘You follow my rules under my house or else you don’t get [my money],’ and she seems to want both sides. ‘I don’t want to live under your rules, but I do want your money.’”
Rachel and her parents will face off in court again on April 22.