Teenage girl sues parents because they won't pay her tuition.

03/09/2014

Child abuse or a spoiled brat? That is the question before a state judge in New Jersey after 18-year-old Rachel Canning filed suit against her parents to force them to pay the remainder of her private high school tuition and to hand her the keys to a college fund.

Rachel claims her parents kicked her out of the house during her fall senior semester, just before her eighteenth birthday, and have refused to pay a $5,306 debt owed for tuition to Morris Catholic High School. Additionally, she claims her parents have threatened money set in an account for college tuition.

Rachel has been living with a family friend since November. Her friend’s father, attorney and local politician John Inglesino, has been paying Rachel’s legal fees and housing her since she left her parent’s home after her eighteenth birthday. Rachel issued a statement saying her parents have “stopped paying my tuition and redirected my college fund” for not following “their rules,” which she argues constitutes child abuse.

For their part, Rachel’s parents say they are have been stunned and left “heartbroken” by the accusations. They claim her daughter chose to run away from home, abandoning them because she would not follow house rules, including following a curfew, returning borrowed items to her two sisters, helping out with household chores, and ending or rethinking a relationship with a boy her parents claim is a bad influence.

Rachel’s father Sean Canning, the former police chief of the town of Lincoln Park, issued a statement saying “we love Rachel and wish she would wake up. We’re not draconian and now we’re getting hauled into court. She’s demanding that we pay her bills but she doesn’t want to live at home.” Further, Rachel’s father said “she ran away because she didn’t want to follow any rules. She stayed away because she had a place to go. That’s it.”

While the facts are not all known at this point, one thing is for certain—this family has been broken forever.

Kirk Laughlin
Associate Attorney
Poppe Law Firm