This Man Criticizes His Twins’ Principal For Refusing To Excuse Their Absence When He Took Them To See The Boston Marathon.

A father has criticized a school principal who said he was irresponsible for taking his nine-year-old twins out of school to go to the Boston Marathon and pay their respects to the bombing victims.

Michael Rossi, of Rydal, Pennsylvania, whose twins, Jack and Victoria, are in third grade, was running in this year’s marathon, so he gave his kids three days off school for a family vacation and took them along to Boston.

However, once the family returned, Rochelle Marbury, the principal of Rydal Elementary School, sent Rossi a letter to inform him that the time off the twins took had been officially marked as “unexcused”.

1. Mike Rossi and his wife Cindy decided to take their nine-year-old twins Jack and Victoria out of school for three days to go to the Boston Marathon, where Rossi was competing.

This Man Criticizes His Twins' Principal For Refusing To Excuse Their Absence When He Took Them To See The Boston Marathon.

Marbury wrote:

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.

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.

2. Rossi received this letter from Rochelle Marbury, the principal of Rydal Elementary School, who said the absent days had been marked as “unexcused”.

This Man Criticizes His Twins' Principal For Refusing To Excuse Their Absence When He Took Them To See The Boston Marathon.

Infuriated by the note, Rossi wrote a response to Marbury, which he then posted on Facebook.

The father’s letter promptly went viral, shared more than 27,500 and liked more than 230 times so far. He wrote:

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.

In the 3 days of school they missed (which consisted of standardized testing that they could take any time) they learned about dedication, commitment, love, perseverance, overcoming adversity, civic pride, patriotism, American history culinary arts and physical education.

They watched their father overcome, injury, bad weather, the death of a loved one and many other obstacles to achieve an important personal goal.

They also experienced first-hand the love and support of thousands of others cheering on people with a common goal.

At the marathon, they watched blind runners, runners with prosthetic limbs and debilitating diseases and people running to raise money for great causes run in the most prestigious and historic marathon in the world.

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.

In addition our children walked the Freedom Trail, visited the site of the Boston Tea Party, the Boston Massacre and the graves of several signers of the Declaration of Independence.

These are things they WILL learn in school a year or more from now. So in actuality our children are ahead of the game.

They also visited an aquarium, sampled great cuisine and spent many hours of physical activity walking and swimming.

We appreciate the efforts of the wonderful teachers and staff and cherish the education they are receiving at Rydal Elementary School. We truly love our school.

But I wouldn’t hesitate to pull them out of school again for an experience like the one they had this past week.

Thank you for your time.
Sincerely,
Michael Rossi
Father

Rossi said that, despite what the principal’s letter suggested, no one cared more about his children’s education than him.

He added that he drives his kids to school every day and attends field trips every time he can.

Rossi also makes videos of the students in their classroom and then creates a “highlights of the year” package. 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.

3. Mike Rossi took his two children out of school on a three-day trip to Boston. He called their absence educational, however the school said it was considered “unexcused”.

This Man Criticizes His Twins' Principal For Refusing To Excuse Their Absence When He Took Them To See The Boston Marathon.

Having met with overwhelming support for his letter, Rossi says that he would absolutely pull his children out of school again, if a similar once-in-a-lifetime trip came up. He said:

I wouldn’t hesitate to pull them out of school again for an experience like the one they had this past week.

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