A father who was chastised by his children’s school when the kids skipped class to take a family holiday has penned an emotion-filled response which has gained worldwide support. It’s thrust the debate over taking children out of school for holidays back into the spotlight.
American father of two, Michael Rossi decided his twins Jack and Victoria could afford to miss three days of grade three to watch him compete in the Boston Marathon. He thought the trip would provide a unique educational experience. The children’s school thought otherwise. He was sent the following letter, telling him the missed days would be noted as “unexcused”:
Mr Rossi responded with his own letter, outlining the reasons for the trip, and what the children had learnt. This is Mr Rossi’s response:
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 standardised 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.
The debate is now once again raging about the educational value of taking children out of school for holidays. What’s your opinion on taking children out of school for family holidays? Has your family done it, and does your child’s school allow it?