Pennsylvania dad's response to children's unexcused absence from school goes viral

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A Montgomery County father is fighting to change an excused policy at his children's school.

A Pennsylvania father is fighting to change an unexcused absence policy at his children's school.

Mike Rossi pulled his kids out of class for three days for what he calls a "once-in-a-lifetime" opportunity.

Last week, he achieved his dream of running in the Boston Marathon with his wife and twins there to cheer him on.

He says along with witnessing triumph, he also took the kids to memorials for marathon bombing victims, and other educational stops in the city.

However, administrators at Rydal Elementary school in Huntingdon Valley, Pennsylvania are standing by the school's unexcused absence policy.

The principal sent the Rossis a letter saying the Abington School District does not recognize family trips as excused absences - educational or not - and marked those three missed days as unexcused.

The parent handbook says after three of those a criminal complaint will be filed without warning.

Rossi's response is going viral as he promises the principal that his kids learned as much in those few days in Boston as they would in an entire year in school.

You can read Rossi's response on his Facebook page.

He's now fighting to change that school policy in his district.

In addition, Rossi met with school representatives, and described the meeting as very constructive.

However, it was brought to light that since his post went viral on the internet, the school principal has been on the receiving end of hate mail and harassing phone calls.

Rossi said: "Let me say again that this is not a personal issue with the school, the teachers or especially the principal ... She was only doing her job by sending that letter and should not be subject to any personal attacks."

"It is very sad and disturbing that she has received hate mail and phone calls and it has affected her very much. That was certainly not my intention. This is strictly about the policy and she does not make the policy," he said.

He then pleaded for no personal attacks on the principal or anyone involved with the school.

As for the letter, Rossi says he stands by what he wrote, with one exception.

"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."

He says that line has been taken out of context. He says, "I did not in any way mean that as a knock against the school or teachers. I wrote it solely to stress the value of our trip."

He says the school district is standing by the policy, but says it will examine the wording of the letter to see if it can be written differently. Rossi says they also agreed to look at the policy and see if it can be made clearer.


Statement from School Board
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