After moving out and filing a lawsuit that claimed her parents cut off her school tuition and financial support in part because she refused to break up with her boyfriend, New Jersey teen Rachel Canning has reunited with her family, according to an attorney for the parents.
“Her return home is not contingent on any financial and/or other considerations,” says a statement released Wednesday by Angelo Sarno, who is representing parents Sean and Elizabeth Canning, of Lincoln Park.
Meeting with the media, Sarno said that “as far as my clients are concerned, it’s over, it’s done,” reported the Daily Record. “This is a private matter. It should never have been brought to the court’s attention. It should have never been brought to the public.”
He said the purpose of the announcement was only to say that Rachel is home, and Sarno would not comment further about the case, including Rachel’s pending request in court for her parents to cover her future college tuition.
“This is a long process,” he said. “It’s only the beginning.”
Rachel, 18, turned heads – but failed to convince a judge, who ruled against her – when she went to court seeking living expenses and tuition for her final semester at the private Morris Catholic High School. Very quickly, the cheerleader and honors student drew the ire of social-media users who derided her as spoiled and entitled.
“I have been subjected to severe verbal and physical abuse by my mother and father,” Canning alleged in court documents. “I am not willingly and voluntarily leaving a reasonable situation at home to make my own decisions. I had to leave to end the abuse.”
Such allegations were “unfounded,” according to an investigation by the state’s Division of Child Protection and Permanency. Her parents responded in their own court filings that Rachel fled the family home when she was disciplined after being suspended from school for truancy. They reportedly also took away her car and phone, and told her to quit seeing her boyfriend.
“[Rachel] took it upon herself to run away so that she could live her life without any parental supervision and without any rules,” mom Elizabeth stated in court documents.
Rachel’s court papers claimed: “They stopped paying my high school tuition to punish the school and me, and have redirected my college fund indicating their refusal to afford me an education.”
Although Circuit Judge Peter Bogaard denied Rachel’s initial request, he postponed until April a decision on Rachel’s request to force her parents to cover her college tuition.
In an earlier statement, the parents’ attorney, Sarno, said: “The case is without any legal merit … Government cannot police the day-to-day financial affairs of parents and their children while the family is intact. The case must be resolved quickly between the parents and child, preferably without involvement of the Court and/or legal counsel.”
“It is the goal of the Cannings to be present at their child’s graduations, her wedding and at the birth of their grandchildren,” he added. “Obviously, they are heartbroken by all that has transpired.”