Boston Marathon Runner Gets Letter from Montco School Principal About Trip [UPDATED]

Those unexcused absences will go on your kids’ permanent record, you know.

Mike Rossi and family at the Boston Marathon finish line.

Mike Rossi and family at the Boston Marathon finish line.

UPDATE 4/29 11:55 a.m.: Mike Rossi and his wife met with the school on Wednesday morning and says he’ll be on the Today show and Fox and Friends on Thursday, although he’s been unhappy with some of the media coverage. Read the full story here.

ORIGINAL:

When he was 18, Mike Rossi was a host of Dancin’ On Air, the live, locally produced music show that featured performances by the likes of Madonna, Will Smith and Menudo. But these days, he’s a 47-year-old husband and father of two living out in the suburbs, where his twins are in the third grade at Rydal Elementary School. And it is there that controversy has erupted over Rossi’s decision to bring his kids to Boston to watch him run the marathon back on April 20th.

Rossi and his wife, Cindy, took the children out of school on April 17th, 20th and 21st for a family trip to Beantown, centered around Monday’s race, which Rossi had long dreamed of running. He almost didn’t make it to the starting line, thanks to a death in the family and an injury. But he persevered, ran the race, and crossed the finish line, with what he believes to be a torn labrum.

But the real pain began when he received a letter from Rydal’s principal, Rochelle Marbury. Here’s what she wrote:

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.

“This is the zero tolerance that everyone loves,” says Rossi. “They’ve taken common sense out of the equation. You’ve violated the rules and here’s your letter. It definitely rubbed me the wrong way.”

Rossi says he’s no irresponsible, uninvolved parent. Quite the opposite.

“I’m really active in the school,” he insists. “I take them every day. I chaperone all of the class trips that I can. I go to the field day and all activities. I even make videos for the classrooms and show them at the end of the year — highlights from the year. And I go in and read a couple of times a year. These rules should be in place for parents who aren’t involved and who, in some cases, don’t even know their kids are absent. This is not for responsible parents trying to teach their kids the right things and teach them about the world outside the classroom.”

Now, Rossi’s not saying that he didn’t violate the policy. What he’s saying is that the policy and the zero tolerance attitude associated with it are dumb and that the school should take these things on a case-by-case basis, not by sending letters to parents warning them of running afoul of the law.

It turns out that Pennsylvania law does allow for educational family trips to be considered excused absences, and some school districts do make exceptions. But state law lets the local districts use their own discretion, and Abington School District makes no such exception.

Rossi wrote the following response to Principal Marbury:

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.

A meeting between the school and the parents is scheduled for Wednesday morning. The principal did not immediately respond to our request for comment.

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  • CJames24x

    Well isn’t that just too bad for the school. How much time is wasted on testing? How many weeks are wasted studying for the PSSAs and taking the PSSAs? This trip and any other family trip is much more educational than sitting in class studying for some test to try to make the school look good! I swear, common sense has gone out the window. Let it be on their records. Add a note about what they were doing. They will probably have an advantage over every other kid who sat through the mind numbing test prep!

    • kirby76

      Cool. Let other students use their test scores in their Harvard applications, these kids can tell the admissions counselor about watching a bunch of people running around Boston and all the things they saw that were more important than stuff they could “learn in a classroom”.

      That should go over well.

      • CJames24x

        The test scores are for the school not the student. At least these kids will have something to write about on their essays!

      • glngarryglnross

        you obviously dont have a clue about the current state of our public schools. those tests are not kept for college entrance. Those tests are used to show this elem/middle school vs another school.

        • kirby76

          I actually work in the public schools, and given some of the replies to MY reply I guess I wasn’t obvious enough that I was being sarcastically hyperbolic. My actual point was about the father not only making a decision he thought best for his kids (which I think is fine), but the pompous tone of his (very long) letter in which he seemed to be ordering priorities not only for his own family, but the whole school (and maybe the universe, for all I can tell)

      • soup83196

        Haha. Third grade text scores are not used for college applications. You obviously have never been through the college application process.

        • kirby76

          I was just using that as a shortcut snark reply. I actually didn’t even read the story closely enough to know what grade the kids were in, and I know that the main people who benefit from good scores are the schools themselves. My problem with this story isn’t with the marathon trip; I think it was probably a great experience, and in MY school days (before all this testing emphasis) I’m sure it would have been considered an excused absence. What grates on me is the father’s haughtily superior, lordly attitude in his letter.

  • connied

    The kids are off on the wrong foot with parents who think they are above the policy. So what did your children learn? That school is secondary to what their parents believe should be the priority that school day. The parents are wrong regardless of the touchy feely reason they gave.

    • Pyro411

      I do believe you’ve missed the whole point then. The difference between what was learned via the trip and what they would have learned in those days at school potentially is the difference between raising Leaders or raising drones for our workforce / communities.

      Some policies are good, some policies are bad, and the policy the principle cited him on has allowable exceptions like his trip built into the policy.

    • J.Oz

      Ummm…parent you own kids and others will parent theirs. Case closed.

      • connied

        sorry, but i see this as indicitive of adults who think they are above the law. if you don’t think it starts in grade school, then you are sadly mistaken and don’t understand the nuances of learning in a classroom. unfortunately, kids of parents who do non-parenting are EVERYONE’s concern somewhere down the line.

        • J.Oz

          I can say the following unequivocally based on my own 16+ years classroom time. I’ve learned, and continue to learn, a lot more outside of the classroom than in it.

          ALSO: It was a productive use of time for Rossi and his family to schedule the time in Boston during standardized test time – i.e., a total waste of a kid’s classroom time.

          • Harold Kurtz

            As a life-long educator (teacher, principal and superintendent) , parent and grandparent I can only say that I applaud Mr Rossi and his efforts to expand the educational vistas for his children. The principal obviously followed “protocol” and wrote her letter. Clearly she evidenced no tolerance or understanding of the dynamics of this situation and probably others that have occurred on her watch. I would imagine many parents have taken their children away on less than educational trips without any sanction as they simply did not advertise their intentions. Zero Tolerance in my view has always been Zero Common Sense and enables administrators to simply write meaningless and threatening letters to good and decent parents. I hope this is a learning experience for all the parties involved.

          • Sophie Cat

            @Harold Kurt Sigh.
            I wish there were more teachers/principals/superintendents like YOU, sir.
            Zero Tolerance is indeed ZERO COMMON SENSE – it’s ruined peoples’ lives in so many many horrible ways. The Drug Wars, The School-To-Prison Pipeline, and many others.
            You’re obviously a man who can still exercise his critical-thinking skills. Good for you.
            I applaud you!

        • jim

          If a parent wants to race in boston he doesn’t have to take his kids with him and he is wrong.Hard to believe the people telling him that the trip was a good idea for the kids. He could take the kids another time for the sights.You may be teaching them well most of the time with your involvement but not this time

          • offthegrid

            oh plaeese! Spending this quality time with family at a very special event at a very special place in our history vs another day in a classroom…no contest! there is no going back in time …

          • Mike Rossi

            That’s your opinion and you’re entitled to it. But you’re wrong. My children will probably never have the opportunity to see me in this prestigious and important event. This was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for us. It’s not like going to Disney World. If you were in the Olympics would you leave your kids home to watch you on TV?

          • jim

            But it was not the Olympics it was the boston marathon.You need to put things in perspective.There are so many of these things today you have ample opportunity to take part in them.

          • GregTR

            Once in a lifetime as you won’t cheat your way into it ever again? Every runner knows you’re a fraud. And the non-runners won’t matter/care but you will know for the rest of your life that you never got into Boston fair and square.

        • Sophie Cat

          @connied “sorry, but i see this as indicitive of adults who think they are above the law. ”
          And I see it as indicative that YOU cannot spell the word “indicative”.
          Maybe YOU are the one who didn’t get enough classroom nuance.
          Whatever that means, sheesh.

    • AccountableForAll

      Responsible parents should always have a greater sway than bureaucratic administrators.

    • Sophie Cat

      @connived And now their entire lives are ruined because they didn’t toe the line with all the other sheeple?
      You’re just as short-sighted as their bureaucrat principal.

      • Deb Cunningham Cheatham

        I agree with the parent and his decision but how are their entire lives ruined? His kids have a few unexcused absences. It’s really NOT a big deal.

        • Sophie Cat

          @debcunninghamcheatham:disqus I’m sorry. I was being sarcastic!

    • Mary

      Really?? Do you actually believe what you wrote? Parents should be the directors of their children’s education. No one loves their children more than the parents and no one out there wants more for them.

    • Mike Rossi

      We don’t think we are “above” the policy. We never asked for them to be “excused”. We also didn’t ask for a snarky letter AFTER the fact when for months they knew we were going on this trip. We’re not wrong. The state allows these kinds of absences to be excused, so why not Abington?

      • Yertle8

        Because the school doesn’t want to waste resources trying to determine whether or not Boston cuisine is functionally equivalent to whatever was being taught? Do you really think that is an appropriate school district function? Do you realize that this absolute nonsense is affecting the lives and families of people who work for the school district because it is blown way out of proportion?

        You knew the consequences (effectively none) and you made the decision to do it anyway, which, you know, it was a reasonable decision. But own it. Diffuse this nonsense.

        • glngarryglnross

          But I thought it was all about the kids? Sounds like you think its about the teachers and school district?

          • Yertle8

            Nope. Read the sentence again. Because this is nonsense (the letter is an automatic form letter, carries no punitive action, and has nothing to do with the school ability or competence in educating his children) his overreaction to it continues to fuel a viral non-story that is harming people in the community. Mike does not care because he needs special treatment for being a special snowflake.

      • jay

        Mike, wouldn’t you serve yourself and your family well if you just admitted your short fuse triggered your transmit finger way too soon?
        I work at a School District and will admit the rules are relaxed for certain students, and it’s simply not fair. But life isn’t fair, and kids that age don’t understand when they don’t get what another kid gets. That is unless you go on National News and call their Principle an idiot!!

  • Kim

    Good for him! Some of the most educational experiences I have had were trips like these that my parents were smart enough to take me on.

  • Philatonian

    It’s sad that education is becoming more and more like the DMV or Post Office. Cynical administrators who’d rather crush the spirits of young teachers and eager students in a fit of jealousy masked with Red Tape, than actually engage with teachers, parents, and students. “Fall in line, fill out this form, take this test, and don’t ask why.” No wonder American kids unanimously hate school.

    • Yertle8

      Don’t you think you’re being quite hyperbolic? Crush the spirits? Fits of jealousy? Fall in line? He received a form letter 100 words long that carries no punitive component whatsoever.

      • Philatonian

        The fact that form letters are sent regarding a child’s behavior or absence just kind of furthers my point. It was cold and bureaucratic. Even form letters, especially regarding children, can be a little more thoughtful. And how often does this specific situation present itself at Rydal Elementary? There are less than 600 students. She could have simply called the parents.

        I’m not saying the absence should have been ignored. But in the event that this particular absence were a true problem – if the parents were being neglectful – sending what amounts to an overdraft notification is the worst way to address it.

        There is a very real problem in the way administrative rigidity funnels its way to the teachers, students, and parents; into what should be an enlightening experience. It fosters an environment of “fall in line” and “make the grade.”

        Elementary schools aren’t boot camps and principles aren’t the PPA. Children are impressionable and parents are often new. All I’m saying is an ounce of genuine concern could have created a positive bond between this principle and these parents. It would have taken less time than the two minutes I spent on this comment. Instead, she chose to burn that relationship by being a bureaucrat.

        • Oliver

          This absence was a true problem. Dad wanted to run a marathon. He could have done that without a family cheering section. He could have done that in the summer months when there is no school. He could have taken them out for one or two days to run it and get them back to school instead of a whopping five days. He could have put them in private school where personalized letters might be expected or vacations might be excused absences.
          He didn’t do any of that. He wanted it his way because he’s special and when he didn’t get it, he went public. Public schools must be uniform or face lawsuits.
          Parents (and their children) are so entitled now, if public schools didn’t have rules, kids would be pulled out for every parental whim. If you don’t want kids, don’t have them. If you have them, run a race without the kids or when kids have time off. But the absolute, ABSOLUTE last thing you should do is try to shame a public school because you broke the rules and you have to pay a nominal price. My parents took me all over the world and I never missed a day of school because of it.
          This guy is a baby.

  • SS

    I was fortunate enough to be a member of the Philadelphia Boys Choir growing up and we took several international tours. These tours sometimes occurred during school, and we would work with our teachers to get lesson plans and assignments in advance to do during our trips so as to not fall behind. When I traveled to South Africa with the group in 7th grade most of my teachers were perfectly fine with me making up the work (as was generally the case with my other trips), but my 7th grade biology teacher was extremely difficult about it. Fortunately I didn’t let her deter me, and while I’m sure I missed something really fascinating about photosynthesis, on the whole the life experience I gained in a few hours in the poor, Apartheid-stricken town of Soweto alone had more of an impact on my life than the entirety of my 7th grade education.

  • Tanya Borman-Voit

    Mike, congratulations on being able to participate in the Boston marathon. Quite an accomplishment! I am a McKinley mom of two and FULLY support you and your family’s decision to learn outside of the classroom. Life experiences are just as important, if not more so, than classroom lessons. Amy Sichel needs to hear from more of us that while PA has high standards, the Abington SD is too restrictive. Parents for life lesson UNITE! :-)

    • Mike Rossi

      Thanks Tanya

      • Tanya Borman-Voit

        You’re welcome. And I am LOVING seeing your post on Yahoo today! I am currently writing to Dr. Sichel in support of your argument. I feel that the policies need to be changed. Companies offer Personal Time Off, why not the ASD schools?

      • Jake Bell

        Mike, The validity of your qualification for Boston is being looked into. See above posts, and please come clean and apologize.

  • Mari Tatlow Steed

    I fully feel Mike’s pain. When my children were in high school (Council Rock district), we took a life-changing trip to the UK and Ireland – to meet the mother (their grandmother) I had been separated from for 41 years at that time. I made sure a note detailing the purpose of the trip, its importance to us, the learning opportunities they’d have, and asking that they be given any work or assignment they could do while on their journey, was sent to every one of their teachers and grade vice principal well in advance.

    While their teachers were fully supportive and understanding, school administration gave us the same bit that their 10-day absence would be “unexcused.” I wrote a similar letter to Mike’s, including examples of kids from my two’s classes being excused for everything from nose jobs to junkets to the Bahamas. It worked and their absence was not counted on their record.

    Sometimes we need to gently remind educators what education is. Good for Mike, and well done on the marathon!

    • Sophie Cat

      I would have LOVED to be able to take my child to the UK and Ireland when he was still in school. Your children are so blessed to have parents who can – and will – do this for them! And you’re right, for most of us working people, trips like that are a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity!

      • Mari Tatlow Steed

        I was blessed to have the support of an NGO for that trip that helped families in/from
        Ireland to reunite. As a widow raising two children, there’s no way I could afford a trip like that completely on my own!

    • Mike Rossi

      Thank you

    • Karen Moran

      We had to do the same thing for our kids to miss school for a couple of trips to Europe. Sure it was a pita to do but so is getting a passport or packing a car, it’s just something you have to do because there are rules regarding school attendance in the state of PA.

  • Now do people see the general problem with schools is their overpaid martinet Administrators, Not the teachers?
    And remember folks, ‘policy’ is not Law. It can be changed with the stroke of a pen.
    Keep up the good work Mike Rossi, you are a true role model, as a parent should be.
    Please keep us informed on the outcome of your meeting with your Frau Blucher principal.

  • Ronnie Polaneczky

    Two thoughts on this:
    1. Good for Mike for bringing his kids to Boston and having everyone experience a great family trip. They sound like a lovely, together family.

    2. Mike adn his wife should leave the kids’ absence as “unexcused,” because the reason for the trip – i.e.,, a family getaway vacation – is not recognized as an excuse-able one by the school’s standards. Why fight that? What’s the harm in leaving the absence as “unexcused”? What Mike would be telling his kids, by NOT fighting the “unexcused” status, is that some rules are deemed worthy of being broken when parents decide that it’s in the best interest of their family to break them. It’s a good thing for the kids to learn. And you teach them that the consequences of breaking the rule – the unexcused absences – are absolutely worth bearing. All through life the kids will have to decide if all kinds of decisions are worth the consequences that will follow. This is as good an example as any that, yep, this was a decision absolutely worth the consequences.
    Just my two cents. And mazel tov, Mike, on finishing! So glad your kids were there for your moment of triumph!

    • Mike Rossi

      Ronnie, we are not fighting it. We didn’t ask that they be “excused”. But we also didn’t ask to get a snarky letter. I posted my “letter” as an FYI. But the more I looked at it the more I came to believe the policy is moronic. PA allows for these types of excused absences but leaves it up to each local school board to set policy. Abington chooses to have a blanket policy with no exceptions. Many other local SDs allow this kind of trip. And thanks for the kind words!

      • jack_thorpe321

        An FYI to whom? Just send the letter to the school district if you don’t like the policy.

        • Yertle8

          But then they won’t pay attention to MEEEEEEEEEE! One thing I think is funny is that this guy has been on the radio for a few years but when his fifteen seconds of fame finally come it’s from this nonsensical whining. Then it’s back to oblivion for him.

          • velo_slave

            Not to mention the consequences this poor principal is suffering because this dude, obviously, wanted to get his 15 minutes. She’s probably going to be dealing with rightwing nutjobs harassing her for months because she followed the rules and did her job.

          • Richard Lecuyer

            Certainly no libtards like you, huh?

          • Joseph

            Actually, it’s the rightwing people who are the most supportive of the principle, as they value education. The liberals support the “anything goes” society. The “leftwing nutjobs” seem to be the ones who are harassing the school principal.

      • velo_slave

        Congrats on “going viral”, dude! lol

      • Oliver

        I didn’t think the letter was snarky. The school surely anticipated an angry parent flipping out because unexcused absences appeared on their kids’ records. It appears the school tried to be clear about why the absences are recorded as unexcused.
        You decided to break a rule so you could run a marathon with your family watching. You might have mitigated the consequences by running the marathon and coming home, or running the marathon without your own cheering section, but instead, you chose to make it a five-day trip. You pay the price…or in this case, your kids will pay the price. But it’s not a big price and you said you would do it over again. So why go public? You sound whiny and not really as nonchalant about the consequences of your decision as you’d like readers to believe. You seem to think volunteering at the school means the rules should be changed for you. Wow.
        This sort of entitlement is rampant in young people today and now I know where it starts. Grow up. Take your licks like a big boy. And for the sake of the rest of us, please teach your kids to take theirs too. Administrators have bigger problems than dealing with divas who are too special.

        • Julia Handel

          The sad thing about this fiasco is that the principal has received hate emails. How ridiculous is that. What happened to parents and educators working together in the education of their children? This is a non issue blown way out of proportion. As I mentioned in my earlier comment, I have taken my daughter out of school when I knew that it would be an unexcused absence and took the consequences.

      • disqus_RHAxTkfT3C

        Its a form letter they send to every parent who takes their kids out of school for a vacation. Its purpose is to to cover the school’s behind when deadbeat parents (not you) complain that their child is being held back a grade for too many unexcused absences. There was nothing “snarky” about it.

        Your response, however, was full of snark. Nowhere did the school question the educational value of your trip – they merely indicated that they do not have the resources to review every family’s vacation and judge it’s educational value.

        To me, your letter read like it was from an entitled parent, who thinks the rules don’t apply to their special family, and just HAD to let the world know he ran the boston marathon.

        • velo_slave

          …and a guy who is media savvy enough to realize he could go viral with his reply.

      • dumb folk

        You received a form letter informing you of school policy. I detected no snark at all in the letter from the school but plenty in your response.

        Unexcused absences are only an issue if a child misses enough school to be considered truant under PA law. I’d be willing to bet this won’t ever be an issue for your children. A reasonable person would recognize the school policy was made to keep
        administrators from getting bogged down bickering with parents about the merits of their
        vacation plans.

        BTW, I agree with you that the decision to take this trip was a good one. Nevertheless, your response to the Principal was a bit over-the-top, IMO.

        If the school had suspended your child for violating a zero-tolerance policy by chewing a Pop Tart into the shape of a gun, that would be moronic. This, not so much.

        • Kyle Plate

          The problem with the principal’s letter is a single sentence— “The school district is not in the position of overseeing family vacations or evaluating the educational nature of a family trip.”

          The line is not needed since it simply restates the idea of the line above it. While may not have been intended as snark or a slap on the wrist, the choice of language in that single sentence conveys a very personal undercurrent. If its not snark, then the principal or whoever wrote the letter is simply ignorant of the effect of words and phrases like “Overseeing” and “not in the position of” and how they have no place in a communication like that, particularly a form letter.

          Everybody blaming this father for his reaction needs keep in mind that whatever the district policy is…the person responsible for all of this controversy is the Principal for her poor word choice and quite honestly, she should know better.

          • dumb folk

            Two points…

            1) You write, “While MAY not have been intended as snark…” (emphasis added) Let me ask you, do you reasonably believe it WAS intended as snark? If not and simply a poor choice of words, why then parse the language seeking the worst possible intent. Why bother including the word ‘may’?

            2) “the choice of language in that single sentence conveys a very personal
            undercurrent.” Again… It is a form letter and not ‘personal’ correspondence.

            You called her “ignorant”. Do you have a personal beef with her?

            I wrote: “A reasonable person would recognize the school policy was made to keep administrators from getting bogged down bickering with parents about the merits of their vacation plans.”

            Since you insist on focusing on semantics and parsing the language contained in this form letter for some personal undercurrent, I can only conclude you are someone who is not reasonable.

          • Kyle Plate

            Either the snark was intended or it was not. If it wasn’t intended, then it’s obvious from the volume of the commentary on both sides of this issue that the letter was written in a way that caused outrage. If that was not the intent, then at the very least the principal was ignorant of how poorly written the communications was…in her role, she should know better.

            As for any personal conclusions you have made about me, so be it. I don’t personally care how anonymous people on the Internet feel about me.

          • dhtaz

            You keep referring to the principals letter as a “form letter”. Just how do you arrive at that conclusion?

      • Michael

        Did you speak the school ahead of time to explain your reasoning?

      • Andrew

        Simple thing is, this could have all been handled behind closed doors and not in the public eye – nowadays everything has to be in the public and put out on social media to get reactions, or to put yourself on a pedestal (my opinion). My question is why are you surprised by the hate email, etc that people are giving the principal and teachers? – This is what the public does – overreacts to everything down to an unexcused absence for elementary kids!! There are always consequences to things put on social media.

      • Paul

        Mike Rossi, “We didn’t ask that they be “excused” – Something doesnt line up. Will you post the unedited original email sent to the school?

        In the response the school says and I quote “The school district is not in the position of overseeing family vacations or evaluating the educational nature of a family trip”. Read the very end of that carefully “evaluating the educational nature of a family trip”

        Are we to believe this is a form letter? Seems oddly specific for a form letter. Was the school answering an imaginary question? Or were they responding to a question or demand made of them?

        In your response you seem to cling to the “here are the reasons why it was an educational trip? Wouldnt you simply say thank you and be on your way…. OR are you still trying to Justify the orginal question/demand.

        This all seems way out of whack for a simple ” form letter”

      • Matt

        Mike, it is interesting that now it has come out that you cheated to get a qualifying time for the Boston Marathon. http://www.letsrun.com/forum/flat_read.php?thread=6479539&page=0 Photos of all runners but you at multiple locations throughout the race, but zero photos of you until the finish line. There is absolutely zero chance that you legitimately ran 3:11 at Lehigh Marathon. Did you use a bike or a car to cut the course? You have barely been able to average that pace for 5km, and now you claim to have run it for 42km) Was cheating to qualify for the Boston Marathon one of the lessons that you wanted to share with your children too?

      • GregTR

        How about coming clean and admitting you never even ran a BQ? That’d be a good start in your healing process…. http://www.letsrun.com/forum/flat_read.php?thread=6479539

      • GregTR

        Snarky? If anything it was your letter that was snarky! And trust me, I know one when I see one as I’ve written my fair share. Writing that ridiculous “look at me, I feed lobster mac&cheese to my kids in Boston” letter was a pathetic display of narcissism if I’ve ever seen one. The principal sent you a form letter that you should have filed with the rest of the “I don’t give a crap about”.

      • Mark Weinfurter

        Just like cheating is moronic.

    • Julia Handel

      Florida schools do the same here as well and in fact did the same thing when I was a kid in school here. I took my daughter out for a family wedding in Puerto Rico a couple of years ago, yes we went to the rainforest and several museums, so it could be classified as educational as well. I knew that her absence would be unexcused and I was fine with that. It is up to the teacher’s discretion as to whether they would let her make up her work or not and all of them did. This to me this was a good reason to take his children out of school, the same as my reason for taking my daughter out, yet they have to set some boundaries for kid’s missing school. It becomes frustrating to a teacher to try and keep kids on track when so many miss school just for an excused absence, so I do understand the school’s point on this one. We learn more outside of the classrooms than we will probably every learn inside of one, however, when we send our kids to public schools then they need to adhere to the policies of those schools. Congrats to the dad though, my daughter and I have become marathon junkies!

  • joe

    Did

  • Sophie Cat

    Wow – Marbury just really DOES NOT GET IT, does she?!? Poor thing…… but, hey – that’s what “Zero Tolerance” does; robs them of any semblance of COMMON SENSE.

    And this, WOW again: “The school district is not in the position of overseeing family vacations or evaluating the educational nature of a family trip.” Um, yeah……… I don’t think anyone asked you to “oversee” this family’s vacation or family trips – and the reason why is you don’t have the sense God gave a goose, Marbury.

  • Joseph

    Well, we can see why America is a screwed-up place. What’s your priority; education… or watching the old man run a meaningless race in which he has no chance of winning? Dad did something on his bucket list, and the kids found out that it’s OK to skip school. Hey, take your “family vacation” in June or July, like those families who value education over doing something trivial. Tour Boston in July! That letter to the principal was very well written… for a lame excuse.

    • glngarryglnross

      you must not know what is considered a day of school these days. Public education for 90% of the US is a joke.

      • Joseph

        I attended public high school; got a good education. Well, that was over 40 years ago, before the teachers union got a foothold in our educational system.

    • Randmart

      “What’s your priority; education…or watching the old man run a meaningless race in which he has no chance of winning? Dad did something on his bucket list, and the kids found out that it’s OK to skip school”

      And that’s OK to cheat your way into something on your bucket list, if you have to

  • kts5556

    Schools and educators often complain (correctly imj) about helicopter parents; that criticism runs both ways. It not would take much investigation on the part of the principal or the teachers to find out if the family trip was worthwhile from an educational perspective or not. This wasn’t a trip to Disney World (which I agree would be irresponsible parenting during school days– in most cases). Get a grip Madam Principal! This woman is the definition of a bureaucrat: policy, law, and protocol are more valued than the actual positive human experience.

  • Tommy Grover

    Another good reason for home schooling, especially when the kids they graduate from high school just get dumber and more immature every year. The previous generation’s 14 year-olds had more acquired knowledge and were more responsible than today’s average high school graduate. Why do we accept and allow these ridiculous bureaucrats to call themselves educators?

    • kts5556

      Most educators do not go into the profession to be bureaucrats. Government and regulations make bureaucrats, not noble professions.

      • Tommy Grover

        Aren’t the people who make the regulations (DOE) credentialed educators as well?

    • Mary

      Totally agree!

  • Carol Edmonds

    Good for him! Principal Marbury needs to step out of her shaded-circle,regimented thinking,and remember that parents make the decisions about the legitimacy of their kid’sabsences,NOT administrators!!

    • kirby76

      And the “administrators” make the decision about how THEY are going to respond to and classify the absences in their own records.

  • Book Learnin

    Way to go Mike!
    There are more important things to do and learn than math and science. I am taking my 4th grader down to Baltimore tomorrow to participate in the protests. We are going to burn the MFer down.

    It will be a learning experience he never forgets, as he will get to see his Dad lead the battle against corrupt police department. My son will be so proud of me because I am so awesome!

    Also, we might stop for some crab cakes!!!!!

  • bob

    This story is about a stay at home dad who’s wife works supporting the family.Shameleesly he wants everyone to know he spends his free time training for the Boston Marathon, and being an active parent unlike us.These form letters were meant for us working families ( mom and dad ). THESE LETTERS DO NOT PERTAIN TO HIS FAMILY BECAUSE HE IS AN ACTIVE PARENT.This is a publicity seeker who has no problem embarrassing family – prinicipal – teachers – and himself thru social media and television appearances.This dad lacks social and professional skillsi if he had an ounce of dignity he would have shown the school and principal some respect and first try and handle it privately. Instead he elected to go directly to social media. The school is handling this in a professional manner respecting the family’s privacy by declining to make this a media circus with not responding to numerous request for comments. FYI Mike Boston is open in June, July and August.I feel sorry for the humiliation you are causing your family the internet is forever.I think this was a damaging educational experience for them.

    • citizenBarbara

      A little envy here Bob? I wish I had parents like the Rossi’s but instead I had parents like you. Sad, fearful, unable to stand up to misplaced authority.

    • Bryce M

      “Boston is open in June, July and August.” – While true, I’m sure they wouldn’t be very willing to reschedule the Marathon. Could be wrong, but I don’t think so.

    • Mike Rossi

      Stay at home dad? You’re an idiot. I have my own business. For over 20 years. I posted this to my personal FB page for my own friends to see. They shared it and made it viral, not me.

      • jay

        If you go politically correct. call him a Moron, accuse him of being anti-family and a taker, maybe you can be a full time host on 1210?

  • Yertle8

    This is a complete non-issue and this guy is loving the traction his non-story is getting because he received a brief FORM letter.

    Let’s look at this as if Mike Rossi approached this reasonably. A reasonable person wants to run in the Boston Marathon and take his kids with him. He knows that this will mean his kids will miss school, but he reasonably believes that they will learn more on this trip than they would have had they attended school those days, so he goes ahead and does that. They all have a good time and afterward he’s sure that he was right about those days in Boston being more educational, so when he receives the form letter quoted above, he shrugs, tosses it on the recycle pile, and never thinks about it again. This is a reasonable response.

    But Mike Rossi is not acting reasonably. He thinks that the school district should evaluate whether or not his trip was educational enough to be considered school attendance. They’re not interested in that, which is something he knew when making this decision. School districts are strapped to begin with doing their primary function – providing a basic education. They don’t and shouldn’t be inclined to rate the educational value of his family vacation. The good news is that he, as a parent, is free to do that. He is even free to educate his own children completely as he sees fit by removing them from public school and homeschooling them, during which time he can take them wherever he wants, whenever he wants, to learn whatever it is that he thinks they will need to succeed in life. But that’s not what he wants. What he wants is for the school to cater specifically to Mike Rossi, the special snowflake, and his special snowflake children.

    With these unreasonable thoughts and expectations in mind, he responded to a form letter that had lierally no negative implication for him or hid children. And because he is a special snowflake, he could not simply do it privately, but he needed everyone to know what an injustice had been thrust upon him in the form of a 100-word form letter. Now he will consume the school resources unnecessarily with a meeting because the school didn’t deem his three day Boston vacation worthy of evaluation, because they simply don’t do that, because it doesn’t make sense for them to do that. No one pays property taxes in Abington so that the school can hire someone to look through Mike Rossi’s trip itinerary and see if his kid’s cuisine exposure is equivalent to 15 long division problems and a spelling quiz.

    Here’s how this should have played out:

    Mike Rossi runs into a neighbor while mowing his lawn and the neighbor asks about his Boston trip. He tells the neighbor it was great and the kids enjoyed it. Then he mentions that the school sent him a letter about how the kids are going to be charged unexcused absences for the days they missed. “But I think they learned more in Boston than they would have if they went to school,” he says. “You’re probably right,” the neighbor says, and Mike goes on mowing his lawn, enjoying his day, and not getting upset over an impersonal form letter that means nothing.

    Yeah. It would have been nicer if he was reasonable, instead of tagging the end of what was probably an educational trip with a lesson about the positive aspects of being self-absorbed.

    • Jym

      Wow. You must be bored. This is how it should have “played out.” The Rossis get back from their vacation, the school gives them unexcused absences. The end. No letter threatening to report criminal activity of breaking an attendance law. Rossi did everything in his power to prepare the school for the horrendous occurrence of two children missing three days of school. He could have lied and said they were ill (or “missed the bus” three days in a row, for that matter) but he was honest. Another fine quality taught to his children during this heinous act of defiance.

      • Yertle8

        Your use of horrendous and heinous are extreme exaggerations. The school did not overreact. They sent a 100-word form letter that goes out to everyone who thinks their children should be excused for vacations. Mike overreacted by continuing to feed the viral story and attend a special meeting for him because he is a special snowflake. I don’t think it was a heinous act of defiance but rather a petty act of self-absorption.

        • Julia Handel

          In the “update” he’ll be on the Today Show, even though he doesn’t want the media coverage!? smh!

    • Useyourbrain

      Mr. Mike Rossi wants to go viral I suppose. Obviously he is a more than a little smug he created this little fiasco. I am not sure what he is trying to achieve here. Get his children’s school to review their policies? Let the whole world knows how great a dad he is? Is this really the best way to do it?

      • Jennifer P

        He sounds like a pretty great dad to me, and I think this is probably just about the most effective possible way to get this particular district to reevaluate their policy.

        Pennsylvania allows for districts to use their own discretion in determining family vacations to be educational/excused versus unexcused. Of course it’s a lot less work to make a blanket policy that all family trips are unexcused and fire off form letters, but the lazy way has now earned them nationwide negative attention.

    • Ezekiel 25:17

      I did Outward Bound instructor training as a high school senior. It began on the last day of my senior year. I only missed one day in 4 years and that was due to a school sports injury and me being in the hospital. The principal was going to take drastic action against me if I missed it. So I had to go before the school board when the Outward Bound staff had already contact him about the significant difference between just skipping the last day or starting a major part of my life that exists to this day. In the end, the school board approved my exit from school. I came back three weeks later to walk across the stage and get my empty folder. I completed the 80 mile orienteering instructor class at the top and still do that to this day. After I left, the principal was transferred to a new grade school. Evidently my incident was just the final straw for the school board on this loser.

      • Yertle8

        From your side of the story it sounds like the principal was not very reasonable in your case. Of course, it also sounds like your case is completely different from the subject one in which no punitive action was taken.

      • jay

        Good Lord, not again, Get over it. You didn’t make Outward Bound Instructor because you can’t see past that chip on your shoulder.

  • kirby76

    The trip sounds like a great experience, and looking back I think my school would have regarded it as an excused absence.

    But the school’s position is hardly unreasonable or unfair, and frankly, the sympathy I initially had for the father dissipated the more I read of a letter reeking of pompous self-entitlement (if I’d been able to finish the thing it might have disappeared entirely)

  • David Rudenstein

    At the meeting he should just tell school to go to hell. He wrote a great lewtter-and he should not take further nonsense from that school.

    • Yertle8

      At the meeting the school should just tell him to go to hell. It’s not their function to determine whether or not his vacation was educational. He made a decision knowing the consequences (which are essentially non-existent) and he couldn’t even read through a 100-word form letter without posting a public (self-aggrandizing) response.

  • Fred Carbone

    Mike Rossi sounds like a typical overly-entitled jerk who thinks everything should be modified to accommodate him and his desires. Were Mike Rossi an actual adult, he’d simply acknowledge the school’s policy with a respectful reply, and simply leave it at that. What an over-inflated ego to think the school should amend their policies to accommodate his needs.

    I feel bad for his kids.

    • Mike Rossi

      Don’t feel bad for my kids. They are in a loving supportive family. We never asked that they be excused and I expected a letter. My response was just to educate the principal about our trip and to let her know that I am fine with the “unexcused absences” and don’t need their permission to parent our kids as we see fit. Overly-entitled? I grew up in the city of Philadelphia, put myself through college and have had my own business for over 20 years. But thanks for your intelligent response.

      • Useyourbrain

        Then why the need to post this exchange on the internet? Obviously your objective was more than you wanting to “just to educate the principal about (y)our trip and to let her know bla bla bla”. It is clear you wanted to shame the Principal and the school because you feel your choices are right and you are above the system. However I agree you do not need anyone’s permission to parent your children.

      • glngarryglnross

        What Ive found so far is that there are a lot of jealous people. More than I expected on this board. Congrats on the trip. I get those letters too when we do family stuff as well.

      • jay

        Mike, get over yourself, no-one wants to hear your “I did it all by myself” routine and the principle doesn’t need to be educated by your public snarky letter.

        No one said you needed permission, you can do whatever you want, the problem lies in the entitlement you feel that your kids don’t have to follow the rules because “you” are their Dad.

        With any Philly street sense you would understand Dom Giordano and Rich
        Zeoli were assigned and only too happy to use you as their latest excuse to blast a Teacher’s Union
        they hate.

        Perhaps this can be a teachable moment for your children, who never should have been included in your short fused transmit trigger finger.

  • JP

    Guy seems like a real hard on. The rules are the rules, and its not like the school can parse through every vacation to be deemed valuable or whatever. And it’s not like the schools want to administer standardized testing, that’s a state mandate. So a guy got butt hurt that the school reminded him of the district policy, big deal. His kids should just have the unexcused absences on their record, because they are.

    • glngarryglnross

      If the administrators dont think the testing is a good idea but follow along “because its the state decision” then what kind of education are we running? You could install a sheep as school admin and just follow the crowd everything because “thats what they are supposed to do”

      • JP

        We often forget that schools exist and serve as a function of the state government. They can’t disobey mandates, or there would be no funds and the school would cease to exist. I’m sure you’ll vote for someone who wants to give the sort leeway to schools you think they already have.

    • Karen Moran

      Just an FYI PA has Keystone Testing on the HS level that is mandatory and they aren’t allowed to graduate if they don’t pass…. Chew on that.

  • David Oh

    “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.” So according to this idiot, all you need to do is take 8 such vacations and the kids can check right into high school. Moron, I feel sorry for the kids having a selfish idiot as a father.

    • glngarryglnross

      you must not be a parent. You also seem clueless to the real world

      • David Oh

        Hey moron, I am living better life than you. I guarantee it.

        • glngarryglnross

          not sure you can guarantee anything like that. My experience is that ppl who have to talk about how much better they are, arent really better at all.

    • jay

      I feel badly for the kids, they were used, but I don’t think the Dad understood there would be consequences for his short fuse and trigger transmit finger.

    • SNelson

      exactly my thought.

  • MissScarlett

    Mr. Rossi, Kudos to you for your participation in the Boston Marathon despite personal tragedy & injury. I wholeheartedly agree that time spent in Boston learning about the American Revolution, seeing another part of the country, watching you take part in that grueling race & whatever else you did as a family (sorry, not sure what you did specifically) is a million times better than sitting in a classroom prepping for some stupid state “assessment” which is worthless in the long run. Your kids will have these WONDERFUL memories that they can talk about for years & share with their children. Plus, when the teachers discuss the American Revolution or Boston, MA overall, your kids will be able to say they visited the sites they are learning about. It’s better to have “hands-on” (sort of) experience when it comes to historical places than to just read about them in books or on the Internet (it’s much more tangible to them compared to just pictures & words).

    I personally think that Ms. Marbury is one of those educators who is more concerned about the potential loss of funding for a couple of kids missing a few days (less than a week) of school. She is probably freaked out that, because of your kids’ absences, she may lose any “bonus” for getting all of the kids to take the tests & may lose any “additional” funding for the school (which probably would not be used in the students’ best interests).

    Good luck & go get ’em!!

    • jay

      Giving new meaning to the Scarlet letter!

  • asdfjkl;

    I have found that writing a letter to the Principal in advance of the unexcused absence, and asking their permission is a good way to show respect and avoid the snarky letter. Take this opportunity to teach your children the real life lessons of handling superiors and bureaucracy.

    • Karen Moran

      It’s also the law and we’ve had to do it a number of times. Nobody is anymore entitled than anyone else and they knew he was running this months ago so there are no excuses as to why they didn’t go about it like everyone else and get permission ahead of time.

      • glngarryglnross

        there is no permission granted to take your kids out of school unless its a doctor dentist etc visit. I would do the exact same thing as the father. pull your kids and teach them the world.

        • Yertle8

          Yep, and then don’t complain about what you knew would happen afterward.

          • glngarryglnross

            So dont try to fix something that is broken? is that the message here ?

          • Yertle8

            Yeah, you got me. The school system is broken because a parent received a brief form letter that he thought was too snarky. We need REFORM and we need it NOW. Please. This guy is just being a baby.

          • glngarryglnross

            yep, you got it right. thats the only problem with the public school system.

          • Yertle8

            Straw man. Please tell me what other problem he is trying to fix.

          • Jennifer P

            Lazy form letters being sent off without any regard for individual circumstances is a symptom of a much larger problem with the American educational system. Kids are all the same. Their circumstances are all the same. Their abilities are all scaled based on the same standardized tests. School funding and teacher salaries are allocated based on the results of these tests under the assumption that their students are all the same. Etc etc.

          • pjcostello

            Yes, unless you decide to go out in the streets and burn down buildings, throw bricks at police, and destroy your neighborhood — then it’s perfectly fine.

        • Karen Moran

          Yes there is. I had to do it with both my sons. There is a form I had to fill out and then it got submitted to the school board and the principal and the the teachers signed off on it. My kids went on two extremely educational trips to Europe and I had to do this over a month before we went. They had homework to do the entire trip. My kids are straight A students- one is a freshman in college now. wenthttp://www.pacode.com/secure/data/022/chapter11/s11.26.html

        • Karen Moran

          Oh yeah we also had to do this when I competed in the World Championships for Karate in Orlando and my kids came to watch. We had a ton of homework for them and they were 5 and 7 years old at the time! A similar situation as to the Boston Marathoner. Different sport but just as important to us. I still had to get permission for the absence. I never once thought I was above the law on that either.

          • glngarryglnross

            There is no “permission” or excused absence for a trip like that

          • Karen Moran

            Lol! Ok right. You were there? I got the appropriate permission a head of time and they had school work they had to turn in. We also did things like this guy like took them to see NASA and the Everglades and they met people from all over the world… So it was educational. 2004 btw – my kids are older and I’ve been through all of it. If someone can’t deal with the rules of the district or the state, put them in private school or cyber school. ( you are still mandated to follow the curriculum with that as well ) My point is tha t these parents knew the rules and defied them anyway and now they are surprised that their kids received ” unexcused” absences. What makes them any better than anyone else?

          • glngarryglnross

            its not the way it works in 99% of schools or states.

          • Jennifer P

            If your children had been in the Abington school district, then the trips you just described would have been unexcused and the teacher would have had the right to refuse them the make up work.

            Your advanced notice would not have mattered, as a non-emergency family trip is unexcused in that district no matter how much notice you give.

          • Karen Moran

            If I lived in the Abington School district I would have read the handbook and if we chose to do any kind of trip then we would have understood the consequences. Took me 2 minutes to find your schools policy. Maybe people in the Abington school district should pay more attention to who is elected to your school board …..

          • Jennifer P

            The great thing about living in a free country is that we’re actually allowed to *gasp* speak out about policies we think are bad and work to have them changed.

            The fact that it’s Abington’s policy doesn’t automatically make it a good policy. And again, this father seems to be quite clear about the fact that he’s only trying to draw attention to the rule itself, not petition to have his kids’ school days changed to excused.

          • Karen Moran

            Right. Maybe he should run for school board and have the policy changed to reflect the code in PA.

          • Jennifer P

            For a mom, you seem a bit short-sighted. This guy most likely already has a job that he is responsible for doing well. If there are preventable short-comings in this particular school district that are possibly adversely affecting children and their families, then it’s 100% appropriate to draw awareness to them so that the school board can address them and decide whether or not change is necessary.

            It should be possible to do that without suggesting that the only solution is running for school board.

          • Karen Moran

            Well if you want change then you need to do it appropriately. He seems to have a lot if time to train for a marathon. If he can’t, then someone else should step up . Have you ever heard the story of the little red hen? Everyone wants the outcome but no one wants to contribute to the work needed to get the end result. It’s too hard and painful…. People shouldn’t cry if they aren’t willing to do the work.

          • Jennifer P

            “Step up” and do what exactly? Draw attention to a bad policy? That’s what he did. Write an articulate and thoughtful statement about the benefits of educational family vacations? Check. He did that.

          • pjcostello

            Even if he decided to run for the school board, that wouldn’t have helped his situation, anyway!

          • Karen Moran

            Then we wouldn’t have taken them and they would have stayed home with their grandparents and gone to school.

      • Jennifer P

        There is no reason to believe that they didn’t give the school appropriate notice of the dates and nature of their trip. If there is a blanket policy in place that family trips are unexcused, then no amount of notice would have mattered. Comparing it to your experience in a different school, different district and different state is apples and airplanes.

        It doesn’t sound like dad is demanding that these days be reversed from unexcused to excused. He’s trying to draw attention to what is, in his mind (and mine), a flawed policy. The state of Pennsylvania allows for family vacations to be excused if they are pre-approved and educational. This particular district willfully disregards that ability and marks all family vacations off as unexcused.

        • Karen Moran

          We are in the State of PA in Montgomery county.

          • Jennifer P

            So then you realize that many districts in Pennsylvania (like yours) DO excuse trips that are given advanced notice as long as they are educational. And since you’ve taken advantage of this policy, it would probably be safe to assume that you’re in agreement that it’s appropriate.

            Abington school district does not do this.

          • Karen Moran

            I read my schools handbooks well in advance of any trips and gave thought as to when they would be taken so that they missed only 2-3 days at most around holiday periods when they had off. I did not want them to miss any school, tests ( keystone required tests) or sports practices. I am in agreement with this policy because it is a policy in our school district . If we were in a school district that did not allow this and these days off were unexcused then we wouldn’t take school days as vacation. I read and followed the policy and filled out the paperwork as required. There are people who would take advantage and I’m sure there have been those that have done that and maybe that’s why your district needed to be a little more strict. You can’t act surprised though if you get a letter from the office about an unexcused absence if you are blatantly not adhering to the districts policy.

    • soup83196

      My kids go to the same school and we informed the school in advance of our trip – we still got the letter. In fact, we were “warned” it was coming because it is allegedly a requirement. The letters go out regardless.

      • Karen Moran

        I read one of the handbooks for Abington Elementary schools and looks like anything other than sickness or emergency is deemed unexcused so you were prob aware there were no exceptions in advance? Do you have to sign off on the handbook at the beginning of the school year? Then if you do it anyway then no one should be shocked if they aren’t excused…..

        • soup83196

          No, there is no official sign off of the handbook each year. Several of my kids have gone through this school so I was aware of the policy beforehand. That is why I took steps to inform the school of the upcoming absence and to make sure my son had his work completed when he returned. I wasn’t shocked when I got the letter, I actually laughed about it, but I would not be laughing if we were reported to the attendance officer over an educational family trip, as the letter threatened to do.

    • earthisflat

      “Superiors?” This father doesn’t work for the SD- the principal is not his “superior!”

      • asdfjkl;

        But the principal is an authority figure to his children 30+ hours a week and is thereby owed respect whether Mike agrees with the rules or not. Mike chose not to follow the rules and then when his wrist got slapped, he threw a tantrum. Great example.

    • blindjustice

      OMG reading some of these comments is terrifying. Whose children are these anyway? I think the real issue is they missed standardized testing that the school will lose money for. Following rules blah, blah. Is this Nazi Germany? Mr. Rossi’s 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. Trust me they will not be learning any of this in these socialist indoctrination centers posing as public schools. Good for him. I hope he continues to teach his children that they are entitled to independent thought and to challenge stupid rules. The State does not own our children!

      • Yertle8

        I know, I can’t believe that the school sent Mike a latter telling him that they own his children. That’s what happened, right?

      • asdfjkl;

        I was not suggesting that Mike’s decision to take his kids to Boston in lieu of school was anything less than terrific. My children have missed school (unexcused) as well. But it is a balancing act. The Principal is the head of the school that his children attend and is owed respect whether Mike agrees with school policy or not. Mike should not have been surprised when he received the letter that the absences were unexcused. Educators have a difficult and sometimes thankless job. The publicly disrespectful usurping of their authority just compounds an already difficult problem. . . Today, kids roll their eyes at teachers, police, authority figures . . . and we wonder why.

        • pjcostello

          “Owed respect”? There’s no such concept in human existence. Respect is earned, not owed.

          • jay

            This is what’s wrong with you and your kids. Respect is LEARNED, not earned.

        • Jennifer P

          Educators have a difficult and thankless job? Yeah, don’t we all. What most of us don’t have is 14 weeks of holiday, full benefits, tenure, pensions and several paid vacation/personal days during the school year no matter how disruptive it is to their students’ learning.

          I don’t think that raising the point that students should have the right to a few unpenalized personal days (like teachers and administrators do) is an issue of disrespect.

      • jay

        Nazi Germany / socialist indoctrination are your politically correctt responses because a kid is marked “Absent”, And you wonder why you aren’t take seriously….. and might I add, not working.

  • Bullwinkle

    My daughter is a high school English teacher. She teaches over 140 students and faces the challenge of numerous parents taking their kids out of school for vacations, some of which last 2 weeks or longer. It is becoming more and more routine for parents to do this. Then when young John or Jillian are not doing well, because they are behind in their assignments and are not really trying to catch up, the parents have the guts to place blame on my daughter; they expect her to give their kids a break.

  • Rich Bernstein

    While I applaud Mr. Rossi for treating his kids to an educational experience, our society has all too easily allowed parents to decide which rules they think apply to them. This is epitomized in the rush of parents to exclude their kids from state mandated testing.

    How do we teach kids right from wrong if we decide, as parents, which rules are worthy of following, and which ones aren’t? Do we extend the rule breaking to not wearing a seat belt? Breaking the speed limit? Minor tax evasion? Where does it stop. ‘

    Our kids had to follow an inordinate amount of idiotic rules while in school. We sometimes disagreed with them…..but never in front of the kids. They needed to learn, in our opinion, that they needed to listen to authority. If we disagreed, we did so behind closed doors. If we discussed it with the school, our kids never knew.

    It wasn’t until they were adults that they knew any of our challenges to the system.

    • glngarryglnross

      as an adult you decide daily on which rules you follow and which you arent going to follow. As for Public School itself, it is a tired institution. One that is slow to adapt and big too massive to move effeciently in most cities.

      • jay

        Seriously, and you blame the education system as the reason our kids aren’t learning.

        • glngarryglnross

          I think that was the point. The education system in America is broken. Poor and underprivlidged kids are scoring at the lowest levels. And states like PA that force kids in bad areas into bad schools are the biggest offenders. If its not the system then what is the explanation for why kids of color score so much lower on tests and graduate and decidely lower rates?

          • jay

            So, are you suggesting Mike Rossi wants those kids of color in his school?? The point is, in those schools parents want an education for their kids, not excused absences. – And that’s exactly WHY I consider Mike Rossi’s public outrage so very pathetic.

    • jay

      Well put. It’s really easy to say you follow the rules when you pick and chose the rules you want to follow.

  • Karen Moran

    I read that letter the other day and it was completely ridiculous. The only thing I can think is that the parents didn’t request off according to the handbook and just “called them out” which you can’t do for trips bc they have to have all the teachers sign off on a trip and assign homework etc. I’ve had to do it for a number of trips bc it’s a State requirement or it’s unexcused.

    • pjcostello

      They must have requested off, else the school wouldn’t have known the reason for the trip at all — which they clearly did.

      • jay

        Maybe the Facebook Photos gave it away?

  • Karen Moran

    Here is the actual PA code re trips and absences : http://www.pacode.com/secure/data/022/chapter11/s11.26.html

  • mike

    Good for you mike rossi. I had a similar experience with my kids and taking them on a cruise to mexico, we got all their schoolwork ahead of time they are straight a students rest of the year and that vacation and a few sick days put them over the districts 10 allowed days they could miss.. they actually had the truant officer call me and sent me some nasty letters. I’m sorry they werent in school learning really useful stuff like pythagorium theory (prob missspelled lol) that will serve them so well in life, but i chose to take them at much increased cost so they could see other cultures/countrys as well as unwind. we even did some educational things and a few teachers even gave them assignments to do and present to the class when we got back.

    • jay

      But they were absent! – What part of that is so hard to understand?

  • Jennifer P

    There should be a small allowance of school days for family vacations, regardless of the nature of the trip. I realize that most families would just accept the unexcused absences, roll their eyes and tear up the letter, but some parents might deny their kids great opportunities based on this rule.

    I learned to ski and scuba dive on days when I should have been in school. I went on work trips with my dad to Chicago, St. Louis and San Francisco. I met extended family from Scotland and Wales at family reunions.

    I’d say I missed no more than 3-4 school days each year because of these vacations, but they were some of the most special and memorable moments of my childhood!

    • Oliver

      Go in the summer or over the holidays. Problem solved.

      • Jennifer P

        You can’t snow ski over summer break, and it’s exponentially more expensive over spring and Christmas breaks. You also can’t necessarily control when relatives get married or hold family reunions.

        Teachers and administrators are permitted to take a small, set number of personal days throughout the year. They are documented and can’t exceed a certain number, but they aren’t penalized and are still paid for them. There is no logical reason why students shouldn’t be able to do the same.

        • Oliver

          You may take your kids anytime you want. But you can’t expect skiing vacations to be excused absences.
          Students and working adults are not equal. Saying they should be treated the same is invalid.
          If you don’t want kids, don’t have them. But if you have them, you have to expect inconveniences. If you don’t want the inconvenience of the public school schedule and rules, send them to private school, where individualized attention is part of what you buy. You get what you pay for.
          The entitlement exhibited over this situation is really amazing. There are countries where there are no schools and the people never get out of poverty. We are so lucky as Americans to have access to at least high school education, but the attitudes expressed here reflect the spoiled entitlement Americans are known for around the world. This is YOUR CHILD’S EDUCATION and you’re whining about ski trips??? Unbelievable.

          • Jennifer P

            Learning new skills, meeting new people and seeing new places are VITAL aspects of a well-rounded education. This is a concept that is not lost on most people, which is why most school districts make reasonable allowances for such trips.

            Trust me, taking your children with you on vacations is the opposite of “convenient”. It’s incredibly expensive and generally much less relaxing, but it’s important. I’m not talking about missing 1/3 of the school year. I’m talking about 3-5 days per year for a pre-approved vacation (comparable to the amount of personal days a teacher is afforded themselves, if not less).

            As for your suggestion that you can’t compare vacation time for students and teachers, my question is WHY THE HELL NOT?! Teachers are being compensated for incredibly cushy schedules, and their absences are a learning disruption for the entire classroom. It still seems to be understood that people are going to need personal days that fall outside of their designated holidays from time to time, and there is no rational reason for that not to apply to students too.

          • Oliver

            Again, you can take your kids whenever you want with no penalty. The designation “unexcused” carries no penalty if you’re only talking about 3-5 days in an entire school year.
            By most school schedules, parents have nearly four months a year to ski. If you homeschool, you can take them anytime. If you send them to private school, you can go when you want. But a large institution like the public school system can’t accommodate all the parents who want the convenience of traveling the other two-thirds of the year when school is in session.
            You have reassured me I was right not to have kids. They sound like an expensive hassle that get in the way of real life.

          • Jennifer P

            I agree. It is much better that you do not have kids!

          • Oliver

            Yes, it’s good to think ahead. Maybe more people complaining their kids’ education interferes with fun should have thought ahead. The traditional school calendar hasn’t changed in decades.

          • Jennifer P

            Oh will you stop already? For somebody who doesn’t even want kids, you are really invested in this issue.

          • Oliver

            When you whine on social media, the world is your audience…and your critic.

    • jay

      But you missed days, and you were marked as not there. There is nothing about the rule that would make a family deny a vacation. There is everything about the rule that makes it the same for everyone. It really is that simple.

  • soup83196

    Kudos to you. My son goes to Rydal and is in the 3rd grade. My husband recently took him on a once in a lifetime trip. We told the school before the trip, and requested take home work, which my son completed and returned when he got back to school. We still got the same irritating letter. I am glad to see you have spoken out about the idiocy. I do think Mrs. Marbury is following procedures set by the school district, and probably has no discretion to deviate from the procedures.

    • disqus_RHAxTkfT3C

      How is this letter irritating? Seriously, please articulate this. It is designed to cover the school’s ass when parents dispute their child being held back a grade for unexcused absences. It is boilerplate language, and articulates the district’s reasonable policy on absences.

      If the school had not sent this letter, then we’d have a different Mr. Rossi sending letters, complaining about how the school did not keep them aware of their policy regarding unexcused absences.

  • Roxanne

    What a colossal overreaction to a note from the school reiterating
    school policy. Mr. Rossi chose to take his children out of school to
    experience a once-in-a-lifetime adventure, which I think is wonderful.
    This wasn’t a “nasty-gram.” The school is simply pointing out that the
    days missed are considered an
    “unexcused absence.” Okay, so his kids are not going to win a Perfect
    Attendance Award but that probably doesn’t matter to him anyway. End of
    story.

    And in response to a previous commenter, teaching your kids to “think
    outside the box” is NOT the same as teaching them that it’s okay to
    disregard policies or rules.

  • pukbarnes

    How is this the principles letter “snarky”? It was a letter informing him of the policy as he clearly did not approach the school and gather the appropriate information before hand. Why would you not check with the school prior to leaving and just assume they would excuse it? He says “he’s no irresponsible, uninvolved parent”, but no one said he was and the formal letter never indicated this either. Furthermore who is he to decide that his kids should be excused and others shouldn’t. How is this any different then taking your kids to a once in a lifetime trip to Disneyland, or anywhere else for that matter? No one is saying he shouldn’t have taken his children to the Boston Marathon, but it was his choice to take his children. He should not force the school to support his decision just because he thinks he knows better and is a better parent than others. That’s just ludicrous. When I was young, my parents pulled us out of school for a few days so we could travel to Disneyland from our home in Canada. It was not an “excused” absence but they decided to pull us anyway. That was their choice. As a parent you have the right to make that choice, but you do not have the right to force your child’s school to agree with you. He talks about “teaching his kids” but what message is he sending them by not talking to the school and getting all the facts prior to leaving and then causing a big stir and insulting the school when he gets an answer he doesn’t like? Gosh talk about trowing a temper tantrum.

  • kwkiki7562

    Good For Him! My kids, my decision.

  • brotherarthurv

    You made your point and you made Ms. Marbury look like a fool. She has spoiled her own reputation in a way that will follow her for the rest of hear career.

    • Yertle8

      Yeah, what a fool. Look at her, sending out district-required form letters like a fool. She got death threats yesterday but high five, amiright?

  • AbingtonRunner

    I am both a parent of Abington students and was in attendance at the Abington
    School Board Meeting last night (April 28, 2015) which is when I first learned
    of this issue. I was quite shocked to learn of this and that it had gained this much traction and that it was even an issue.

    First, I too applaud Mike Rossi for both running and completing the Boston Marathon. It is an accomplishment one can certainly be proud of and it seems like you overcame several obstacles and trying events. I am not sure it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity in the strictest sense as it is an annual event, but I understand your assertion and there is no reason to belabor that point.

    Second, I also think it is great that you were able to bring your family with you to share in this accomplishment as well as make it an educational experience. Kudos for being an involved parent.

    Third, I do not think Principal Marbury’s letter was “snarky” in any sense by any definition, but rather the typical form letter one receives from any number of school districts throughout this country. It is called a CYA letter, or cover-you-ass letter. In fact, some may assert that your well written response was snarky or had sarcastic overtones to it.

    Fourth, I am not sure what the big deal is about an unexcused absence in this instance. In the grand scheme of things, it’s quite meaningless and no one is sending the police or the truancy officer to your home or calling you a bad parent. Quite the opposite, your decision to include your children is absolutely great. In
    fact, at last night’s Board meeting, several Board members recounted how they
    too received the same letter when their children missed school for similar
    reasons.

    Fifth, and most importantly, the problem is that the school district does not want to and should not have to try to judge which trips or absences rise to the level of being educational. I am not sure how many students are enrolled in Abington, but I do know that around holiday time, a lot of students are not in school because of family
    vacations. I am sure one can make the argument that isn’t a trip to a foreign country educational? How about to the sunny sands of the Caribbean, where the students can learn about aquatic life, fauna, different languages and cultures, albeit surrounded by beautiful beaches, or learning about ancient Rome during an Italy vacation. Is a parent going to have to provide a rationalization or documentation
    as to the educational aspects of a vacation or trip? The administration would then have to review each request and then find itself having to make value judgments about which family vacations are educational and which aren’t, which will then lead to more parents complaining, posting letters and opinions online. I am not a fan of zero-tolerance policies or policies where no common sense has been applied, but in this instance having a no-nonsense policy makes much more sense. I would rather have school administrators dealing with more pressing issues than this.

    • Yertle8

      You hit the nail on the head and drove it flush to the surface. Spot on.

    • disqus_RHAxTkfT3C

      Thank you, I was beginning to worry the whole world had gone insane. Your fifth point is something that seems to go over the head of everyone supporting Mr. Rossi’s letter.

    • Jennifer P

      Your comment is rational of course, but most other school districts in Pennsylvania make allowances for family vacations, and it seems to work fine. As long as the family submits proper notice and isn’t abusing the system, I’m sure most short trips in those districts are excused, and I fail to see why that’s such a bad thing.

      I realize that these teachers and administrators are highly burdened with their 14 weeks a year of vacation, planning days, tenure, paid holidays, pensions and full benefits, and God forbid we put something on their plate as grueling as having to make individual determinations about excusing family trips, but if they’re going to make a blanket policy that no family trip merits the absence of school, then they should be held to the same standard. No more paid personal days for teachers and administrators either.

      • Abingtonrunner

        I think that your use of the word “most” is a bit misleading and disingenuous. Yes, every school district has the ability to set their own policy within the context of PA state law. However, I am pretty sure “most”, meaning more than half of school districts, do not excuse absences for family trips. Again, please define the criteria for which family vacations are to be deemed educational? Keep in mind I have no problem with this parent deciding to take his children out of school. If he has a problem with the policy, he is free to attend the monthly School Board Meetings to voice his concern or schedule a meeting with the appropriate administrators. But Abington School District is one of the largest in the region, and for them to have to decide which family vacations are educational and which are not, is not a responsibility anyone is going to want or win. In fact, this would result in even more parents who have their “feelings” hurt because their trips are not considered educational or excused.

        As to your second point, which may be valid and I certainly understand and agree with the underlying sentiment, bringing it up in this context and as part of this issue is a poor way to shift the focus of the issue at hand. That is a different topic and issue.

        • Jennifer P

          It’s not a shift in focus. It’s perfectly relevant. The reasons why a teacher or administrator would expect a small allowance of unpenalized personal days are the same reasons why a student and their family would. Employees have the same flexibility to plans vacations and personal time around their extremely generous holiday schedules and still feel entitled to take additional days at full pay. Keeping in mind that these days are a disruption to their entire classroom. There’s no logical reason not to extend the same minimal allowance of days to students.

          Our school district excuses family trips as long as proper notice is given, and allowing them to be excused requires teachers to give the student make up work. In school district’s where personal days are unexcused, the teacher has the option to withhold the assignments altogether, which could negatively impact students.

          • AbingtonRunner

            You are equating paid employees with students who are governed by state law and then by district policy. It most certainly is a shift in focus, because while I think there is certainly an issue of the power of the teachers’ union and their contracts, that has nothing to do with the required number of school days or a school district’s policy regarding absences. The parent’s are free to take their children out of school, as done in this case. What your school district does is irrelevant in this case. Abington has chosen, and with good reason, not to have to try to determine which trips rise to the level of educational as that would certainly result in more parents like Mr. Rossi getting upset and having their feelings hurt. It is time to realize that in the case of public schools or large institutions, there needs to be certain rules that apply to everyone equally. Moreover, we are talking about third graders here, so in the grand scheme of things, what the heck is the big deal if these absences are classified as unexcused.

            In Abington, whether you are excused or not, responsible students or parents will make arrangements with teachers to get the work missed and be sure to complete it in a timely manner. Presumably Mr. Rossi and other parents will not abuse excused or unexcused absences.

      • Roxanne

        Most schools DO make allowances for family vacations; Fall break, (usually in early October), Thanksgiving break, Christmas/winter break, Spring break, Summer break, plus several 3-day weekends during the year. Obviously this trip fell outside of those scheduled breaks because it was planned around the Boston Marathon, but in most cases, parents can plan their family vacations to coincide with the school calendar. I’m not saying that I have a problem with parents taking their children out of school at other times for family events or other special occasions, but they shouldn’t necessarily expect these absences to be “excused.”

        • Jennifer

          It’s actually not that easy to plan trips around school breaks, especially if you are trying to coordinate with family who live in other districts who follow a different calendar. It can also be cost prohibitive to travel at peak times. Our district allows one three day excused absence per school year for family trips. A five day trip would result in three excused and two unexcused absences. The letters themselves don’t bother me, I understand its a formality. But the legal implications are very much real and upsetting. And we are required to outline the educational benefit to the child when we submit our family trip form.
          Our district does not have a Fall Break, Winter Break (Feb) or Spring Break, although we do have several 3-4 day Holiday weekends. We actually had a lot of difficulty coordinating a day trip to see out-of-state family around Easter due to how drastically different the school calendars were.

      • Dimitri

        Mr. Rossi wanted his children to watch him run the marathon; it was a nice mini vacation. It is unreasonable to expect that a teacher (or an administrator) should take time to review Mr. Rossi’s case and AGREE with his claim that this trip had educational value.
        You mentioned that other districts have allowances for family vacations; well, Mr. Rossi’s district does not. He can still take children out, but there are minor consequences, which he needs to handle as an adult. If he does not agree with the policy, then meeting with the principal in private would have been more appropriate; they could have had a civil conversation. It was a family vacation; it is absurd to claim educational value here.
        Mr. Rossi chose to take this discussion public. His decision to involve the social media created an unsafe environment for educators and students (children) in the district.

        Despite of what you think, teachers and school administrators work hard and deserve time off.

  • Oliver

    Oh, and Fiorillo…you have a another grammar error.
    “…Rossi’s decision to bring his kids to Boston…” is incorrect.

    It should read: “…Rossi’s decision to TAKE his kids to Boston…”

  • CastIronCowboy

    Just when did right become wrong and wrong become right? This is a father and family being just that: a family. Let the school strive to produce more Baltimore thugs running the streets. Without a family structure any school is doomed to failure. This principle has made a personal and professional decision to hinder what is the central key to success in our school systems across America; to wit: the family structure. Let this family do what our schools have not and cannot. If you have any doubt go face the lawless in Fergerson, Baltimore or the next city in line for the dangerous and deadly behaviors present and your had better be ready to take a bullet, bottle or rock in the head. As for me and my family, I will stand and cheer for this family standing on the finish line at the Boston Marathon. Rydal Elementary School is only a symptom of the degradation of America. To Principle Rochelle Marbury: May you get exactly what your lack of moral courage deserves.

    • Yertle8

      You are completely clueless about the situation.

    • disqus_RHAxTkfT3C

      YOU CastlronCowboy are a symptom of the degradation of America. Think critically for a moment – Should the school district review every single family vacation and spend your tax dollars determining its educational value?

      The school is not criticizing this family’s decision, or questioning the value of the wonderful experience they had. They are simply not prepared to review every vacation for it’s educational value – a reasonable stance in my opinion.

      Bravo, however, on the mental gymnastics required to relate this to Ferguson/Baltimore.

      • jay

        What’s the difference between an un-excused absence and just plain absent? Nothing.

        • disqus_RHAxTkfT3C

          What is your point? The State determines funding for schools, and part of that determination is based on attendance levels. The designation of “excused” vs. “unexcused” impacts attendance levels reported to the State, which consequently impacts how much funding a school receives.

          Again, what is your point?

          • jay

            So help me understand your point,,,,,we should mark them as excused absence because you want more State Funding??? My point remains the same,,,,,,for the kids, there is no difference. Or are you trying to say it’s ok to Cook the Books in order to get more money?

          • disqus_RHAxTkfT3C

            No, I said nothing along those lines. I’m merely pointing out that there is an official distinction between excused and unexcused absences. Your first comment seemed to imply that there is no difference.

            Continuing with that thought, there absolutely is a difference “for the kids”. What is defined as an excused absence is a medical emergency, or significant family event (like a death in the family). An unexcused absence, in this case, is a vacation. These are clearly different experiences for the child.

            What a child learns on vacation is valuable; NO ONE has denied that. The school, however, has chosen NOT to make a judgement call on the educational value of each family’s vacation. Personally, I support this decision as I’m sure they would receive a lot more letters like Mr. Rossi’s if they employed the alternative approach.

            If Mr. Rossi has a problem with the policy itself that is one thing (and I can see the merits of that argument). In this case however, Rossi is criticizing the implementation of the policy, stating that it shouldn’t apply to him. That’s why, in my opinion, he comes off as an entitled d-bag. He knew the rules, he broke them, and now he is whining about the “consequences.” (There have been zero actual consequences outside the annoyance of reading a 100 word letter)

  • dumb folk

    One man’s excused absence is another man’s Disney Cruise. The flap over this FORM LETTER from the school explains clearly why the letter was sent. Much ado about nothing.

    “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.”

    Pennsylvania has laws requiring school attendance. I believe it was sent to this family in the same fashion and for the same reason it is sent to many families, to inform them of the policy which applies to everyone. We’re not judging. This is what we do. ‘You took your child out of school for a family trip. We don’t evaluate the merits of such trips. We just record them as unexcused.’

    This should be a moot issue so long as Rossi is not in the habit of taking his kids out of school many times over the course of the school year.

  • Katie Uppman

    Let’s see: Dad takes kids on trip knowing it’s unexcused (announcing to the world that you are going on a trip does not make it excused). Principal sends form letter required by law. Dad posts letter and ‘noble’ response on internet. Dad now has his Boston pictures on every news website from here to CNN. But dad still loves school! And his kids are nowhere near the needed unexcused absences need for truancy. So what’s the problem? Is he going to crusade for different laws? Or is he just making a fuss and causing this principal a lot of undue stress so his pictures of running Boston can get splashed all over the news?

    • jay

      Seriously, didn’t the family bother enough their facebook friends already??

      Looking for his fifteen minutes of fame on the back of his kids, Michael Rossi is being used by 1210 Talk Radio sophomoric Host Rich Zeoli, who ‘Thinks” failed school teacher Dom Giordano “may” have had him on too. Seriously unless he has taken his kids out for lots of other reasons, this isn’t Zero Tolerance, this is following the rules.

      Both hosts using Rossi to air their disregard and outright hatred of the Teachers Union — the trilogy is complete.

  • jay

    Does Candy “A” or “P” Ant come to mind when reading this letter. Isn’t Facebook, Twitter and whatever else enough??? If he’s unhappy with the media coverage, why did he make everything so public? Why did he go on Today and Fox and Friends. It’s called “Consequences”, Mikey, and unfortunately, your kids have also learned far too soon, the consequences of a quick transmit finger.

    A grown man looking for his fifteen minutes of fame on the back of his kids. Does he understand he and his letter is being used and touted by equally sophomoric Talk Radio Hosts who are assigned their daily outrages by a CBS Radio Management desperate to be relevant?

    Not the sharpest knife, does Mike understand he is being used as yet another weapon/tool to attack Public Education and the Teacher’s Union.

  • Roxanne

    Oh for Pete’s sake! Now he’s going on the Today show and Fox & Friends????

    Hope it’s to apologize to the principal for dragging her into this media circus for doing her job

  • RJ

    Mike, It could be worse. In the Live Free or Die State of New Hampshire it has become common practice to arrest parents, and cuff and drag them from the meeting for opposing the schools polices and School Board.

  • Abingtonrunner

    Below is the link to a well written and reasonable explanation of Abington School District’s fair and non-discriminatory policy and a response to this much-ado-about nothing issue. It reiterates that parents can and sometimes do pull their children from school for things that they deem important, eductional or worthy. In that same vein, most people (and even parents) also realize that sometimes, there are consequences, such as receiving a standard form letter outlining that their actions are in violation of policies and laws and what the potential consequences are. That in and of itself should also be something a parent can and should teach their children. That is, you break a rule, policy or law, you may receive a letter warning or there could be consequences.

    https://www.abington.k12.pa.us/media/posts/2015/04/Mr-McGarry-Response-to-Family-Vacation-4-2015.pdf

  • nethawk2013

    I believe that it also said in the article that State law considers educational family trips to be allowed as an excused absence.

    • Abingtonrunner

      State law does not use the word “family”. Each school district set forth’s their own criteria as to what is considered an excused absence within the parameters set forth by the State.

  • voice

    How much you wanna bet Principal Marbury is a black female? Guido would never talk down to a white man now would he? He schooled her didn’t he?

  • ConcernedCitizen

    this whole situation would be more palatable if it was not common knowledge that Mr. Rossi has spent his entire life trying to be in front of a camera. Small gigs on small tv shows, radio shows, etc. picking a fight with a school district and couching it as standing up for principle is just another means to get his face on screen. Sad.

  • Julie

    How about we let the parents parent and the schools teach. If a caring, nurturing and involved parent wants to call their child out of school, for whatever reason, they should be entitled to do so. Children should have to test out of each grade in order to move on. Not attend the required number of days. Just because they were there doesn’t mean they learned anything.

  • nunja

    Anybody else see the response from the principal’s son? Heartbreaking. Poor woman is getting death threats over this. Wonder if Mr. Rossi is still enjoying all the pats on the back on his facebook page.

    There’s a lesson in this for all of us. I know I will never try to publicly shame someone like Mr. Rossi did (whether intentional or not). The internet is a scary dangerous place.

    Will the internet mob turn on Mike now that they know what his actions put this woman and her family through?

    • Wade01

      Dude cheated his way to Boston, and now draws huge attention and acts like he was in the freakin Olympics. What a loser.

  • SNelson

    If Mike Rossi actually believes that his kids “learned as much in the 5 days [of vacation] as they would in an entire year in school”, then he needs to put his kids in another school.

  • CreightonRabs

    Typical “Sc-Abington” snobs running the school district. Does anyone in a position of power in Montgomery County have a brain? For that matter, does anyone in Montgomery County have a brain?

  • We hope that anyone who chose to share the dad’s letter will share the principal’s son’s post https://www.facebook.com/lee.marbury/posts/10103631038791008

  • Sonia Milcendeau

    If the kids don’t have an attendance issue then the last part of the letter from the school was not needed in this incidence. That part did make it sound like the reason you took them out of school wasn’t good enough and now we are going to refer you to our attendance officer and you will then be in violation of the law. That to me sounded “snooty”. They were unexcused absences and I think he knew that before they left. Why receive a letter from the school stating such and then some after the fact. Just warn them when they are getting to close to the max allowed used unexcused absences and give him all the legal warnings then.

  • Dimitri

    I wish that there was a way the school could reprimand this kind of self serving, childish, and irresponsible behavior on the part of Mr. Rossi. Exposing the school, the principal, and the children to this media circus is unnecessary; this unnecessary attention also puts people at risk and endangers the children.

    Mr. Rossi’s suggestion that his case should be treated differently because he is an “involved parent” is absurd. He made the decision to take children out of school, and the same consequences which are faced by other parents should also apply to him.
    The fact that Mr. Rossi takes videos of school activities is also concerning. Many parents would object to someone taking pictures of their children without parental consent.
    If Mr. Rossi wishes to teach his children something important, he should apologize to the school and the principal for this self serving and irresponsible behavior.

  • Roy Thomas

    If a parent says an absence is excused it’s excused. Oh my bad I forgot most people believe that the state owns your children. What a world. I’ve pulled my kids for a good sledding day. They are my kids not the schools nor the states.

  • you know my name

    Since Mike Rossi is on this board, I hope he can explain how his marathon time magically improved from 4:26 to 3:11 in one year, which allowed him to qualify for and run Boston Marathon. His Boston qualifying time of 3:11 was run at Lehigh Valley, with no intermediate timing mats and no photos of him anywhere on the course except the finish line. All while running 1:40-something half-marathons, which would indicate a 3:30 – 3:40 marathon at best. Which is exactly what he ran in Philadelphia last year before going to Boston.

    Mike, it seems to me that cheating in marathons is not a life lesson you’d want to impart in your children.

  • Someone is in Trouble

    The real runners are rolling up their sleeves and going to work on this case. Mike Rossi may, in fact, be a complete cheat. He “qualified” for Boston with a time at the Lehigh Valley marathon that is way beyond his ability level (as indicated by previous race results at a variety of distances). Further inspection of hundred upon hundreds of race photos of athletes who finished before and after Mike in the Lehigh race don’t include him anywhere. Most athletes were photographed many times along the race route, generally in packs, yet the only time Mike appears is crossing the finish line. I hope his kids didn’t miss an ethics lesson while they were gone because it doesn’t look like they will get that lesson at home.

    http://www.seekingbostonmarathon.com/2015/05/mike-rossi-2015-boston-marathon-story.html

    http://www.letsrun.com/forum/flat_read.php?thread=6479539&page=0

  • Jess

    Story has a twist. Apparently Mike Rossi cheated at Lehigh Marathon to qualify for Boston.
    http://www.letsrun.com/forum/flat_read.php?thread=6479539

  • Glenn Ray

    There’s more to this story. Mr. Rossi may not have legitimately qualified for Boston in the first place. See the ongoing discussion at LetsRun.com. Very suspect.
    http://www.letsrun.com/forum/flat_read.php?thread=6479539&page=0

  • Runner Felice

    Your story on Mike Rossi is very puzzling he got his Boston Qualifying time from 2014 Lehigh Valley Marathon which he ran a 3:11 the only problem is there is only pictures of him crossing the finish line none on the course with his fast time he ran there should be over a dozen or so pictures of him throughout the corse ( almost all the runners who ran the course have over a dozen or so pictures ) plus the major problem most fast runner are looking at his past race times on http://www.athlinks.com/athletes/213451360 the math does not add up , if you show any coach or fast runners his past race times they would say NO WAY

    he a cheat and attention seeker trying to be in the spotlight

    • GregTR

      ^This! It is far more riveting and infuriating than some idiotic parent rambling about a form letter.

    • DanT

      Wow. If this guy turns out to be a cheater, then that really shines a different light in the story. I hope the PhillyMag team follows up on this!

  • Wade01

    Looking like Mike needs to come clean about his “race” at LeHigh. Doesnt appear he ran the whole 26.2

  • Kelvin MacAderm

    Mike, you took my spot at Boston by cheating. Tsk, tsk, tsk. Not cool dude. Could you respond please???

  • Matt

    There is absolutely no chance that Mr. Rossi legitimately qualified for the Boston Marathon. he claims to have run the pace for 42km, which he can only hold for 5km. It is sad to see someone cheat their way into a “lifetime opportunity”

  • Jake Bell

    Please provide proof that you legitimately qualified for Boston. We have been in contact with race directors and they are also investigating into the matter.

  • John Abrahms

    Mr. Rossi you are a fraud who should be ashamed of himself for being such a poor role model. You are an embarrassment to your family and a disgrace to runners everywhere. Cheating gets you nowhere and until any evidence is provided you are a complete fraud. Everyone who has ever loved you is wrong.

  • Jake Chadwick

    It appears (but is not guaranteed) that Mike may have cheated and not actually run the qualifying time that got him into Boston. None of his other race results suggest anything close to a 3:11 marathon is possible, and unlike almost any other competitor there is only one picture of him running on the course (near the finish). I guess it is possible he ran a time that no other race he’s ever run suggests is possible and all the photographers along the way missed him, but it seems awfully fish.

  • Dave 61

    Hi Mike- when are you going to admit you cheated? Btw, I encourage you to google “Kip Litton”. You do not want to go down that path.

  • earnit

    Somewhere out there is someone who does not have a Boston medal because you stole their entry. Come forward, admit it, and return it.

  • Dave 61

    Is that you, Mike? http://i.imgur.com/dVwW55J.jpg

  • Mark Weinfurter

    There is some question about Mike’s qualifying marathon to gain entry into Boston. Currently the evidence shows that he did not run the full marathon and therefor cheated. Some Garmin times and photos of him on course would clarify the issue.

  • hammerclaw

    Mike Rossi, I don’t believe you were capable of running the 3:11 time you claim to have run at the Lehigh Valley Marathon last September to qualify for Boston this year. Not being photographed anywhere along the course OTHER than at the finish line is highly suspect. All of the other runners that day were photographed at multiple locations. I guess it was fortunate that there aren’t any intermediate timing mats on that course which have to be crossed.

  • Steve

    Here’s what probably happened at the Lehigh Valley marathon. Mike’s wife was waiting for him in a car at a strategic location where he could get in unnoticed. She also brought his favorite meal — a delicious panzerroti dinner — which he enjoyed while she drove to another strategic location where he could slip back into the race and finish with a qualifying time and tomato sauce on his shirt while chewing the last bite of his beloved panzerroti.

    But seriously, here’s a guy who had a problem with a school district policy, so he complained about and didn’t follow it. And he had a problem with the Boston Marathon entrance policy, so he didn’t follow that one either. He should be applauded for his consistency!!!!

  • Steve

    Here’s what probably happened at the Lehigh Valley marathon. Mike’s wife was waiting for him in a car at a strategic location where he could get in unnoticed. She also brought his favorite meal — a delicious panzerroti dinner — which he enjoyed while she drove to another strategic location where he could slip back into the race and finish with a qualifying time and tomato sauce on his shirt while chewing the last bite of his beloved panzerroti.

    But seriously, here’s a guy who had a problem with a school district policy, so he complained about and didn’t follow it. And he had a problem with the Boston Marathon entrance policy, so he didn’t follow that one either. He should be applauded for his consistency!!!!

  • abington resident

    Although this story was not newsworthy in the beginning, things are becoming more interesting as additional information continues to surface.

    Apparently, Mr. Rossi’s qualifying time for the Boston Marathon is being questioned by runners everywhere.

    I would like to hear Mr. Rossi’s explanation of this qualifying time fiasco, once and for all… to put the whole matter to rest.

    Once the dust settles, we will all learn a valuable lesson. I think.

    .

    • Abingtonrunner

      It is not only his qualifying time that is being questioned, but the lack of photographic evidence of him on the course. Throughout the course, there are several professional photographers, and in at least one location, photographs are being taken almost constantly with the view of 100 meters. Mr. Rossi is the only runner that does not have at one picture of himself on the course, except for him at the finish line. Not one. Every other racer has multiple pictures. It is inconceivable that every photography could have missed him at every photographic location. He was not in photos of any of the racers that had similar finish times as himself. While his time was fast for him, it wasn’t fast enough not to be captured by any professional photography on the course.

      • abington resident

        Interesting.
        This makes Mr. Rossi a kind of a “stealth runner.” A good quality to have if one is a spy on a mission. Or if one is playing “hide and seek.” Or if one is a receiver on s football team, only visible to a quarterback…
        But seriously… at times Mr. Rossi is so “stealth” and undetectable… yet occasionally he thinks that going public with silly letters and bring FOX cameras to our schools is OK… he surely is mysterious, this Mr. Rossi.