Whoever said parenting is a thankless task can cite this as prime evidence. In a case that has caught the even rebels in a litigious society slack-jawed, an 18-year old high-school girl in New Jersey sued her parents to force them to pay for her schooling and living costs after storming out of the home because she didn’t want to follow some basic house rules they sought to establish – like helping with chores. Rachel Canning turned up in school uniform for the first day of hearing at a family court, but it didn’t go well for her. Judge Peter Bogaard scolded her and lamented the breakdown of the family after reading an expletive-laden message from Rachel to her mother, according to courtside reports.
“‘Have you ever in your experience seen such gross disrespect for a parent?” he was quoted as saying. “What is the next step …are we going to open the gates for a 12-year-old to sue for an Xbox, a 13-year-old to sue for an iPhone… what about a 15-year-old asking for a 60 inch TV?” Rachel’s parents, Elizabeth and Sean Canning, broke down in court as details of how their family was torn apart were read out. But the high-schooler, on the cusp of going to college, stared ahead without remorse after the judge ruled that the parents did not have to pay her school fees amounting to $5,300 and denied her request for weekly allowance and additional financial support, including attorney fees of $13,000.
He delayed a ruling on whether the parents must pay her college tuition from a fund they had set up, while asking lawyers to consider whether it’s wise to “establish precedent where parents live in fear of establishing rules of the house.” Rachel Canning, from all accounts a bright student who wants to be a bio-medical engineer, says that her parents kicked her out of their home when she turned 18 last October. She has claims her mother called her ‘fat’ and ‘porky,’ insults that led her to suffering bulimia. “My parents simply will not help me any longer.
They want nothing to do with me and refuse to even help me financially outside the home although they certainly have the ability to do so. … I am unable to support myself and provide for my food, shelter, clothing, transportation and education,” she said in court documents. But her parents say she opted to leave because she didn’t want to follow their house rules that included being respectful, keeping a curfew, returning borrowed items to her two sisters, managing a few chores, and reconsidering or ending her relationship with a boyfriend the parents believe is a bad influence.
“Private school, new car, college education; that all comes with living under our roof,” her father, Sean Canning, a retired police chief of the township where they live, told a local television station. “We’re heartbroken, but what do you do when a child says ‘I don’t want your rules but I want everything under the sun and you to pay for it?'” Canning told the local Daily Record, adding that his daughter’s college fund is available to her and not withdrawn or re-allocated, as she has alleged. “We love our child and miss her. It’s killing me and my wife.
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 and she’s saying, ‘I don’t want to live under your rules’.” Meanwhile, the twitterati has weighed in on the case in what some say amounts to a witchhunt. “Rachel canning is a stupid idiot and her parents should kick her out! she is the daftest person on the planet #meanbiatch,” wrote one Twitterer. Another tweeted: “Rachel Canning is giving current teens a bad name, can we just ignore her already so she’ll crawl back in the bubble she came out of ?” A third warned: Wondering if #RachelCanning realizes that every future prospective employer will Google her. Rachel has reportedly been living with a school friend, whose lawyer father has been helping her with the litigation but not representing her.