A hot education topic in New Jersey right now is the lawsuit filed by 18-year-old Rachel Canning against her parents, Sean and Elizabeth Canning, stating that they kicked her out of the house once she turned 18 and did not pay her tuition bills for her private high school, according the original news story by CNN. This lawsuit raises the debate of the obligation parents have to their children once the child turns 18.
Most parents continue to support their children even after the child has graduated from college and has entered college. In some cases, parents today are continuing to support their children well after they have graduated from college until they are satisfied that their children can take care of and support themselves. However, in the case of Rachel Canning, she claims that her parents stopped financially supporting her once she turned 18, a decision made by many parents in this country.
According to Canning’s lawsuit , she had an inappropriate and unhealthy relationship with her parents leading to their decision to kick her out of the house once she turned 18. However, the parents claim that it was Rachel who left because she no longer wanted to follow the house rules regarding curfew and chores. As stated by CNN, this is a case of “she said versus they said.” For the past year, Rachel has been staying with the family of a friend whose parents allegedly allowed alcoholic parties to be thrown in their home, according to Canning’s parents, and the parents are supporting Rachel’s lawsuit.
Rachel filed suit demanding $650 per week in child support payments or payment of her high school tuition. On Tuesday, March 4, her claim was denied by a Morristown, New Jersey court. A follow up hearing is scheduled for April 22 when a judge will determine if Rachel’s parents will be required to pay their daughter’s college tuition.
This lawsuit is an unfortunate case of entitlement many of today’s youth have. It is plausible that Canning would expect her parents to support her while in high school, but she automatically assumed that they were required to put her through college. While many parents feel a sense of obligation to put their children through college, it is not a requirement. It is a decision these parents make out of the love they have for their children. Not to say that Canning’s parents do not love her, especially since Canning and her parents are the only ones who really know what happened to make their relationship turn sour, but if they chose not to pay their daughter’s way through college, that was a decision they had the right to make, whether or not others are in agreement. Rather than dragging her parents to court and putting her family’s issues on display for the world to see, Canning should have been a mature adult and decided that if college was something she really wanted, she would find a way to put herself through college.
This issue affects both parents and students everywhere. If Canning’s lawsuit was successful, she may have set a precedent for other students who may have felt slighted by their parents who chose not to put them through college, and the lawsuits between children and their parents would be on the rise.