When children take time off from school, it can be difficult. Teachers have to put in extra time to make sure that their students make up for the lesson they missed, while students who miss school might struggle to keep up with their classmates.
But if parents make sure their children make up for any missed lessons, a family trip can be as instructive as a few days at school.
Michael Rossi had long dreamed of running the Boston Marathon, so when he finally decided to do it, he wanted to take his family on an unforgettable trip. And because his kids would miss a few days of school while they were in Boston, Michael planned an educational tour of the city’s important sites that would give his children a firsthand lesson in American history.
Still, the school’s principal didn’t approve of Michel’s decision and wrote him a rude letter to express her dissatisfaction.
Here’s what the principal wrote:
Dear Mr. and Mrs. Rossi:
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.
Please contact me if you have any questions. Thank you.
The father didn’t appreciate the criticism and immediately answered her:
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.
Rossi then posted a follow-up comment to clarify his point of view:
Just to clarify a few things:
I am not angry,
I don’t have any beef with the school, teachers or principal.
We did not ask for our kids to be “excused”.
We will take them out of class whenever we see fit.
I did not make this viral.
I don’t like coconut.
Although I think that the education that public schools provide is indispensable, I still think this dad made several important points.
Please share if you think you this dad’s response was right on!