Judge Denies High School Tuition, Support for N.J. Teen Who Sued Parents

03/05/2014 at 12:10 PM EST

Teen Who Sued Parents: Judge Denies High School Tuition, Support
Rachel Canning
Carlo Allegri/Reuters/Landov
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Rachel Canning

Carlo Allegri/Reuters/Landov

A judge has ruled against a New Jersey teen who sparked criticism when she sued her parents for tuition and support after leaving home.

At a hearing Tuesday in New Jersey State Superior Court, Judge Peter Bogaard denied a request by Rachel Canning, 18, to have her parents cover living expenses and tuition for her last semester at her private Catholic high school, CNN reports.

Canning, however, is also suing to have her parents cover her college tuition, and the case will resume in April when the judge is expected to take up the matter then.

The lawsuit continues to draw strong criticism, particularly on social media, with detractors characterizing the honors student and cheerleader as entitled, spoiled and rebellious.

Canning, of Lincoln Park, alleges in her lawsuit that she left home because of psychological mistreatment by her parents, who have said they are heartbroken by her use of the legal system and want her to come home. She left in October, staying with a boyfriend for a time but is now reportedly living with her best friend.

"I have been subjected to severe verbal and physical abuse by my mother and father," Canning, who attends Morris Catholic High School, alleged in court filings. "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."

Her parents, Sean and Elizabeth Canning, have denied any abuse, and an investigation by the state's Division of Child Protection and Permanency determined her allegations were "unfounded."

They noted in their own response to her lawsuit that their daughter ran away after they disciplined her after she was suspended from school for truancy. They reportedly took away her car and phone and told her she could no longer see her boyfriend.

Elizabeth Canning noted in court documents that she and her husband, a retired police chief, had always been a sturdy "support team" for their daughter, who "took it upon herself to run away so that she could live her life without any parental supervision and without any rules."

In her filing, Rachel Canning said that after she fled, her parents cut her off.

"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," the teen claimed.

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