If you love somebody, set them free.
Sting may well have been singing about Aubrey Ireland, the University of Cincinnati student who was granted a restraining order against her own parents.
According to an article in the Globe and Mail, Ireland's parents began stalking and harassing her when she fled to college.
“It’s just been really embarrassing and upsetting to have my parents come to my university when I’m a grown adult, and just basically slander my name and follow me around,” Ireland apparently said during her court hearing.
Not only would Ireland's folks drive nearly 1,000 km to surprise their 21-year-old musical theatre major, they then accused her of being a slut and a druggie. Talk about taking helicopter parenting to new heights.
They claimed to school administrators that Ireland was suffering from a mental illness, and admitted to installing spyware to monitor her cell phone and laptop.
In their defence, Ireland's parents expressed concern about suicide (three of her first cousins had died thus). But the judge wasn't swayed, and her parents then requested their daughter refund three years' worth of tuition—around $66,000 USD. Mediation failed, resulting in a restraining order against Ireland's parents until the end of September 2013.
Legally, at least, Ireland is an adult. Theoretically, she is free to mess up her own life, should she so choose.
Do you think Ireland has an academic obligation to her parents, because they paid her tuition? Should they have just cut the purse strings and left well alone?