Dad’s response to his kids’ unexcused absences from school goes viral

Posted at 4:36 PM, Apr 30, 2015
and last updated 2015-04-30 16:41:47-04

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Penn. -- A Pennsylvania man inadvertently sparked a huge parenting debate by posting a letter to his children's school on Facebook.

The letter came after Mike Rossi's kids were slapped with three unexcused absences for traveling to watch him run the Boston Marathon.

He had notified the school about the plan, but even so, school district officials sent him a letter notifying him that those absences would not be excused. The letter also said further unexcused absences could lead to the district taking administrative action.

Rossi says the kids got to check out some historic sites in Boston, and he found the school's letter offensive.  So, he posted it to Facebook, along with his proposed response to her, and the exchange went viral.

"While I appreciate your concern for our children's education, I can promise you they learned as much in the five days we were in Boston as they would in an entire year in school," Rossi wrote in his response, which he never actually sent. "Our children had a once-in-a-lifetime experience, one that can't be duplicated in a classroom or read in a book."

Rossi's Facebook post has been shared nearly 32,000 times since it was posted April 25. He's even fielding media requests from around the world

His post also prompted the school board president to post a response on the school district website reading, in part:

"I believe it is our job as parents to make sure that our children understand the importance of rules, that rules should be followed, and that there are consequences for breaking rules."

Rossi later added that he is not as angry at the school as some reports are making him out to be. In a follow up Facebook post, he asked that people stop sending hate mail and personally attacking his children's school principal.

"Mrs. Marbury is a wonderful person and an excellent principal. She was only doing her job by sending that letter and should not be subject to any personal attacks," Rossi wrote.