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Social Media Frenzy For Fla. Student Mistaken For Rachel Canning, NJ Teen Who Sued Parents

Rachel Canning, of New Jersey, in court March 4 (CBS 2)

Rachel Canning, of New Jersey, in court March 4 (CBS 2)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – A 22-year-old University of South Florida student found herself on the wrong end of a social media frenzy involving a New Jersey teenager with the same name who made headlines for suing her parents.

When Florida’s Rachel Canning checked her Instagram account Monday night, she had 200 pending “follow” requests. People also left profanity-laced comments on a Facebook page she used to campaign for homecoming queen, the Tampa Bay Times reported.

Commenters apparently confused Canning with the 18-year-old New Jersey high school student and cheerleader of the same name who filed a lawsuit against her parents for living expenses and college money.

Canning said the online bullying is disturbing. But at a commenter’s suggestion, she decided to channel the traffic for a good cause. She posted a link to her fundraising page for the group Autism Speaks and has almost met her $150 goal.

Meanwhile, the Garden State’s Canning is due back in court in April.

On Tuesday, a judge denied Canning’s emergency request for $600 a month in support, high school and college tuition and legal fees. He said the sides will revisit the issue of college tuition on April 22, about a month after Canning’s financial aid forms are due.

Canning had alleged her parents were verbally abusive and threw her out of their Lincoln Park, N.J. home for not following rules. She claimed her parents’ motive in throwing her out was that she would not stop dating a boy they did not like.

But her parents said their daughter left on her own, and does not deserve her college fund because she drinks, stays out past her curfew, and is disrespectful. Canning has denied those accusations.

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