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Dad teaches his kids’ principal an important lesson about education

The school district's narrow definition of "unexcused absence" is inexcusable.


Dylan Love


Posted on Apr 29, 2015   Updated on May 28, 2021, 11:12 pm CDT

Michael Rossi is deeply involved in his kids’ lives. So when he decided to run the Boston Marathon, he thought it was a great opportunity to take his twins with him, so they could cheer him on. But when school administrators questioned his judgment in taking his kids out of school, Rossi wrote a scathing letter in response. 

When the Rossis visited Boston, they took in all the sights and sounds of historic Beantown, visiting the site of the Boston Tea Party, walking the Freedom Trail, and the like.

While it sounds like an incredibly educational trip, the school district disagreed. The Rossi twins’ principal sent Michael a letter stating that the three days his kids spent outside the classroom would be recorded as an unexcused absence.

Rossi wouldn’t stand for it, so he wrote an angry letter in response, in which he argued that his children learned more during their short time in Boston than “they would in an entire year in school.” 

While Rossi does not have beef with the principal herself, he does take issue with the school district’s stringent rules about what counts as an excused absence.

Here’s his complete letter to the principal:

Dear Madam Principal,

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.


Michael Rossi

H/T | Photo via Michael Rossi/Facebook

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*First Published: Apr 29, 2015, 12:53 pm CDT