Principal Refuses to 'Excuse' Kids for 'Educational Vacation' & Their Dad Tells Her What's What (PHOTO)

A child can learn a million facts from a book, but living life, traveling, and experiencing the world are truly the greatest teachers of all. That's why, when dad Mike Rossi and his wife made the decision to pull their two children out of school for a few days so they could travel to Boston to watch the Boston Marathon, they considered it an extension of their childrens' education. And now they're fuming after the school principal made it clear in a letter that their kids' absences would be marked as unexcused—and that no exception would be made for their "educational" family vacation.


Rossi shared a letter on Facebook written to him by the principal of the school, stating the Abington School District in doesn't recognize family vacations as an excused absence:

He also posted the thoughtful way he chose to respond to the letter (there isn't one four-letter word in this reply, to his credit):

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

More from The Stir: Taking Kids Out of School for Vacation Is Just Plain Bad Parenting

I give this dad a lot of credit for making a sincere effort to defend his family's choices and find a way for his children not to be penalized after spending a few days enjoying what sounded like a really amazing trip filled with lessons in history, science, and humanity.

While I agree 100 percent with him that his children learned more on their trip to Boston than they probably have all year in social studies class, I don't think that automatically means his children's absences should be excused.

As parents, it's our responsibility to be crystal clear on the rules at our child's school and within their school district. There are perfectly good reasons for us to break those rules at times, because we know in our hearts that a certain trip will be more worthwhile than (more) ELA and math test prep. Maybe we can't afford airfare in the summer, when everyone else on earth is traveling, too. Perhaps we have a sick relative who lives in Europe and we want our child to experience time with him or her.

In those cases, we can ask that an exception be made to the rule, but we can't expect that it will be. We can't take the trip thinking we're going to change a school or district's rigid ways. We have to stand behind our choices and accept the consequences.

The rules aren't made for families like this one. They're made for the many, many parents who keep their children home for reasons that have nothing to do with enrichment and education. Unfortunately, most school administrators aren't going to have the time or resources to stop everything they're doing investigate and make exceptions for some families and not others. It isn't logical or fair to ask them to do that.

Trips and family bonding experiences are what kids remember most—but if you're going to pull them from school, you have to understand an administrator's take on it and not expect to be treated differently than any other family.

Do you think this parent's children should be excused because their family trip was educational?


Image via woodleywonderworks/Flickr

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