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Dad stands up against school after they call his family's 'once-in-a-lifetime' vacation 'unexcused'

This dad was not backing down after his kids' school informed them that they were about to take strict action for taking the children to a marathon.

Dad stands up against school after they call his family's 'once-in-a-lifetime' vacation 'unexcused'
Cover Image Source: YouTube | TomoNews US

Family vacations, though infrequent, offer significant benefits for parents and children. However, maintaining school attendance can be challenging. Parents must coordinate their time off with the school calendar. DJ and former television host Mike Rossi, who ran in the Boston Marathon, took his children to watch the event, but he wasn’t prepared for the school's response.

Representative Image Source: Pexels | Torsten Dettlaff
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Torsten Dettlaff

As Rossi's family returned from the event, they received an email from the kids' school principal, who informed the family that the kids would be penalized for being absent for three days. "I understand that your family recently took a family vacation," the principal wrote in an email, which was shared on a now-deleted Facebook post, "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," as per TomoNews US.

As per the attendance policy of the Abington School District where the Rossi kids studied, "excused" absences are limited to "urgent" causes like illness, injury or a death in the family. Despite the parents discussing the trip's benefits for their children's personal growth well in advance, the school dismissed these considerations. In addition, they highlighted that "accumulation of unexcused absences can result in a referral to our attendance officer and a subsequent notice of a violation of the compulsory school attendance law."

Representative Image Source: Pexels | RUN 4 FFWPU
Representative Image Source: Pexels | RUN 4 FFWPU

It was now Rossi's turn to craft a compelling response, defending his decision to take his kids on this enriching vacation and arguing against any penalties. "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," Rossi wrote in a reply back to the school authorities, as per Philadelphia Magazine. "In the three days of school they have missed, they learned about dedication, commitment, love, perseverance, overcoming adversity, civic pride, patriotism, American history, culinary arts and physical education," he added.

Rossi continued his letter by mentioning how his kids witnessed their father "overcome injury, battle bad weather, death of a loved one and several other obstacles to achieve an important personal goal." The kids also experienced what it is like for people with blindness, prosthetic limbs and debilitating diseases to participate in the marathon. "They also paid tribute to the victims of senseless acts of terrorism and learned that no matter what evil may occur, terrorists cannot deter the American spirit. "In addition, our children walked the Freedom Trail and they visited the site of the Boston Tea Party," Rossi continued in his message.

Representative Image Source: Pexels | RDNE Stock project
Representative Image Source: Pexels | RDNE Stock project

"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," Rossi concluded his message by signing off his name. According to ABC affiliate 16 WNEP, the school district addressed Rossi's post on its official website.


"I believe it is our job as parents to make sure that our children understand the importance of rules, that rules should be followed and that there are consequences for breaking rules," the school announced. Rossi took to Facebook once again to post and later deleted a message where he requested people not send hate mail to the school district. "Mrs. Marbury is a wonderful person and an excellent principal. She was only doing her job by sending that letter and should not be subject to any personal attacks," he shared, per YourTango.

Editor's note: This article was originally published on December 29, 2023. It has since been updated.

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