A Pennsylvania father penned a brilliant response to his children’s principal after the family received a notice about missing three days of school for a trip to Boston for the annual Boston Marathon.
Mike Rossi, a father of twins who are in the third grade, decided to take his family with him to Boston for the annual marathon, in which he was a participant. Rossi’s twins, Jack and Victoria, missed three days of school for the vacation — prompting their principal, Rochelle Marbury, to send home a letter informing him that the missed days would be noted as “unexcused.”
“I understand that your family recently took a family vacation. I want you to be aware that the Abington School District does not recognize family trips as an excused absence, regardless of the activities involved in the trip. The school district is not in the position of overseeing family vacations or evaluating the educational nature of a family trip,” Marbury wrote. “The dates that the children were absent were recorded as unexcused. An accumulation of unexcused absences can result in referral to our attendance officer and a subsequent notice of a violation of the compulsory school attendance law.”
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Rossi was furious over the letter, saying the school had no right to paint him as an irresponsible parent. “This is the zero tolerance that everyone loves,” he said. “They've taken common sense out of the equation. You've violated the rules and here's your letter. It definitely rubbed me the wrong way."
Rossi insisted that he is serious about his children’s education.
“I take them every day. I chaperone all of the class trips that I can. I go to the field day and all activities. I even make videos for the classrooms and show them at the end of the year — highlights from the year,” he said. “These rules should be in place for parents who aren't involved and who, in some cases, don't even know their kids are absent. This is not for responsible parents trying to teach their kids the right things and teach them about the world outside the classroom."
After receiving Marbury’s letter, Rossi wrote a response to the principal informing her of the nature of the vacation, and firmly assuring her that it was, in fact, educational.
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“While I appreciate your concern for our children’s education, I can promise you they learned as much in the five days we were in Boston as they would in an entire year in school. Our children had a once-in-a-lifetime experience, one that can’t be duplicated in a classroom or read in a book,” he wrote. Rossi explained that his children spent their time in Boston watching the marathon and cheering their father on, all while learning about perseverance and determination.
“They watched their father overcome, injury, bad weather, the death of a loved one and many other obstacles to achieve an important personal goal,” he said. Rossi also told Marbury that his children were able to pay respects to the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings — something they wouldn’t have the opportunity to do had they not attended this year’s marathon with him.
“They also paid tribute to the victims of a senseless act of terrorism and learned that no matter what evil may occur, terrorists can not deter the American spirit. These are things they won’t ever truly learn in the classroom,” Rossi wrote.
Rossi’s letter, which was shared thousands of times after he first posted it to Facebook, concluded with a blunt statement assuring the principal that he’d do what he did again at a moment’s notice.
“I wouldn’t hesitate to pull them out of school again for an experience like the one they had this past week.”
Photo Credit: Mike Rossi Via Inquisitr, Philadelphia magazine