A Philadelphia father who took his nine-year-old twins to go to the Boston Marathon to ‘teach them the values of dedication, commitment, love, perseverance, overcoming adversity, civic pride, patriotism, American history, culinary arts and physical education and watch their father overcome injury, bad weather, the death of a loved one and many other obstacles to achieve an important personal goal,’ was branded irresponsible for allowing his children to miss three days of school for a ‘family vacation.’
Michael Rossi completed the 26-mile Boston Marathon last weekend and came home to his native Abington, when he received a letter from Rochelle Marbury, principal of Rydal Elementary School, stating that the time off the children took had been officially marked as unexcused absences. The letter also warned Rossi that an accumulation of unexcused absences can result in a referral to the attendance officer and a subsequent notice of a violation of the compulsory school attendance law. The letter was sent despite the fact that before the race, his wife had emailed teachers that their two third graders would be out of school for three days.
Arguing that his children learned more in Boston than they would in an entire year in school, he wrote, “It was a life-teaching moment they will never forget. It was teaching them lessons about life. It was one of those moments. In 25 years, they will remember being with dad at the Boston Marathon.”
Thanks to the overwhelming support the letter received, Rossi says he would absolutely pull his children out of school again for a similar trip. “I wouldn’t hesitate to pull them out of school again for an experience like the one they had this past week,” he said.
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