Rebel Dad Schools Educators on Totalitarian Attendance Policy

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Top Tier Gear USA


A Pennsylvania dad received a scolding from his children’s school for doing the unthinkable: he let them MISS SCHOOL (*gasp*!) to go on a short vacation.

Michael Rossi took his nine-year-old twins on a family trip and was given what he calls a “nasty-gram” from the principal.

He posted a photo of the letter on Facebook, and it went viral.

Dad's letter to school on kids' absence

Three days. The children missed THREE DAYS of school.

I’m not sure which part of the letter is the most ridiculous.

I mean, the part that says, “…the Abington School District does not recognize family trips as an excused absence, regardless of the activities involved in the trip” made me roll my eyes, but then I kept reading and saw the next line:

“The school district is not in the position of overseeing family vacations or evaluating the educational nature of a family trip.”

Oh, but I bet they wish they were in such a position. After all, schools have become increasingly meddlesome in recent years, even going as far as asking children what kinds of goodies their parents keep in their home medicine cabinets, calling the police to interrogate an 11-year-old student about his mother’s medicinal marijuana use, and asking middle school students how far they’d go sexually.

Anyway, I digress.

The next part of the letter, in my opinion, is a glaring example of how the police state has infiltrated the public school system:

“An accumulation of unexcused absences can result in a referral to our attendance officer and a subsequent notice of a violation of the compulsory school attendance law.”

“Attendance officer“? A “violation of the compulsory school attendance law”?

Here’s what an attendance officer is, from the Pennsylvania Department of Education website:

The employee is to enforce the provisions of the Pennsylvania School Code regarding compulsory attendance. These individuals have full police power without warrant, and may arrest or apprehend any child who fails to attend school in violation of compulsory attendance. State, municipal, port authority, transit authority, housing authority and school police officers are provided with the same arrest powers.

Wow. Hardcore, isn’t it?

About that “compulsory attendance law”: break it, and you’ll face a fine of up to $300 for each offense plus court costs, and if you can’t (or won’t) pay those fines, you’ll be granted a nice little stay at the local jail for “no more than 5 days.”

In Pennsylvania, truancy is defined as more than three days of “unexcused absence” from school.

By the way, the document that covers all the laws and policies related to attendance in Pennsylvania is 151 pages long.


Mr. Rossi wrote this eloquent response to the principal:

Dear Madam Principal,

While I appreciate your concern for our children’s education, I can promise you they learned as much in the five days we were in Boston as they would in an entire year in school.

Our children had a once-in-a-lifetime experience, one that can’t be duplicated in a classroom or read in a book.

In the 3 days of school they missed (which consisted of standardized testing that they could take any time) they learned about dedication, commitment, love, perseverance, overcoming adversity, civic pride, patriotism, American history culinary arts and physical education.

They watched their father overcome, injury, bad weather, the death of a loved one and many other obstacles to achieve an important personal goal.

They also experienced first-hand the love and support of thousands of others cheering on people with a common goal.

At the marathon, they watched blind runners, runners with prosthetic limbs and debilitating diseases and people running to raise money for great causes run in the most prestigious and historic marathon in the world.

They also paid tribute to the victims of a senseless act of terrorism and learned that no matter what evil may occur, terrorists can not deter the American spirit.

These are things they won’t ever truly learn in the classroom.

In addition our children walked the Freedom Trail, visited the site of the Boston Tea Party, the Boston Massacre and the graves of several signers of the Declaration of Independence.

These are things they WILL learn in school a year or more from now. So in actuality our children are ahead of the game.

They also visited an aquarium, sampled great cuisine and spent many hours of physical activity walking and swimming.

We appreciate the efforts of the wonderful teachers and staff and cherish the education they are receiving at Rydal Elementary School. We truly love our school.

But I wouldn’t hesitate to pull them out of school again for an experience like the one they had this past week.

Thank you for your time.

Michael Rossi

Mr. Rossi, who has a meeting with the principal scheduled for today, said his wife notified the school about the planned absences in advance:

“What’s frustrating is that a week before we left for vacation, my wife notified the kids’ teachers and we had planned for them to make up the standard testing period, which they did.

I want to be clear that I am not angry with Principal Marbury but the policy set by the school district to deal with unexcused absences doesn’t make sense.”

So, why are public schools so pushy about attendance? You might think that the powers-that-be are simply concerned about children getting a good education.

But a deeper look reveals a possible reason schools want your kiddos there each and every day: attendance-based funding. Every public school in Pennsylvania receives a score from 0 – 100, with room for additional “extra credit.” Points are earned based on test scores, graduation rates, and attendance.

And in part, we can thank the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB), because it requires schools to report truancy data to the federal government:

The law did not specifically punish schools for truancy, but it created a social and political link between absence and negative outcomes for students. And with its explicit threat to declare low-performing schools as “failing,” the law infected state-level lawmakers, prosecutors, and judges with a zeal to eradicate the perceived causes of low test scores—with truancy seen as among the worst.

According to an analysis of data collected by the Education Commission of the States, a nonprofit that tracks policy trends, the era of national school reform launched by NCLB has coincided with a burst in state-level lawmaking related to school attendance. Since 2002, when NCLB went into effect, states have passed an average of 23 new attendance-related bills per year. At least one-third of the states have passed laws that deepen court involvement in school absence or establish stiffer legal penalties for truant students and their parents. States have also decreased the number of absent school days required to be declared truant and pushed school administrators to report truancy cases directly to the courts. (source)

(By the way, this is the main reason I withdrew my own child from the public school system and am now homeschooling.)


Sometimes, breaking truancy laws has tragic results. They tend to affect lower-income families more often, and increase their entrapment in the cycle of poverty.

Last year, Eileen DiNino, a stay-at-home mother of seven in Pennsylvania, was sentenced to 48 hours of incarceration to erase about $2,000 in court costs and truancy fines (for several of her children dating back to 1999) that she was unable to pay.

DiNino died in jail of “natural causes” linked to cardiovascular disease. But her cell mate said the jail failed to provide proper care for DiNino after she told a corrections officer and a nurse that she was having trouble breathing. No one was charged for her death.


Public schools have become indoctrination centers for the police state, with policies that are designed to groom children into compliant citizens.

I’m reminded of a quote from the late French philosopher, Michel Foucault:

“Schools serve the same social functions as prisons and mental institutions- to define, classify, control, and regulate people.”

The schools get to decide if your child’s absence is “authorized.” You, as the parent or legal guardian, do not.

Egad. I just had a flashback of video footage from a Common Core cult meeting last year, during which a panelist said, “The children belong to all of us.”


Perhaps Mr. Rossi’s powerful letter will inspire change. If anything, it may encourage other parents to speak up about ridiculous and totalitarian policies that are impacting their children. Often, people blindly accept authority and society’s established “rules” without question, no matter how nonsensical those rules are.

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  • Michael

    No one owns my children and never will. They are grown now but there instances where a long nosed petty bureaucrat stuck their enhanced proboscis into our business and were told exactly and with great detail where to stick it and how hard. I have never had tolerance for these petty tyrants who wish they were powerful and mighty, but are actually mental midgets.
    The public school system is an indoctrination system and it has been for a long time. If you want children who are misinformed and unable to exercise critical thinking, go ahead send them on in. Otherwise save them the horror of a life of misinformation and wrong thinking.

  • W.A. Jones

    Yes, there are “attendance officers” that are common in public school districts. Our attendance officer was a Mr. Blakely, who could hardly speak in coherent sentences when he spoke each year to “the chirren” about their mandatory attendance.

  • LibertyForAll

    obviously, ‘the state’ knows how to raise your children better then you!

  • fatwillie

    I am proud of the way the parents handled these imbeciles, they showed me that while my way would have been more lets say memorable for both myself and them, their way set a better example for their children. While I would still do things my way if I were younger and my family were being abused by imbeciles that stick their noses where they don’t belong, I still admire this family. I believe however if more parents acted like lions and lioness when some other ass says or thinks it takes a village to raise your children, that this crap would have stopped long ago. Lets say you got some bitch in the white house , and I am not sure it is female but lets say, and this thing tries telling you how to feed your children, then I say become a lion and or lioness and make sure that bitch or it never has thoughts like that again. From the top to the bottom of the imbecile list, if the parents would protect their children like a lion or lioness when they should or have to, this crap would be over quicker then a goat can chew, and a snake can strike.

  • Occams

    Sadly, the man actually believes Boston to be ‘real’, and bought into the whole ridiculous government/MSM fairy tale, as usual.

    But I guess 50% awake is better than not at all……

    I think this link pretty much definitively nails it:

    • Firestopper

      Staggering – just when I thought I understood. Nathan Folks is a real man, those ‘actors’ and their handlers will rot in hell.

    • ron17571

      Maybe he talked to his children about how people in Boston gave up rights and about how the police acted. I can’t help but notice that a lot of crazy stuff happens near our capital. Maybe the strange thinking of DC rubs off on people within so many miles.

  • defund pubic screwls, shut them all down.

    • no, revert funding to the local level where it should be. If your school underperforms or does not meet local standards, you can then opt to defund it through local means. Get the unions, the feds, and grants out of our schools.

      • they teach puke, shut ’em down along with the NSA

        • sure, but you have to ask you and how “they teach puke” before you can fix the problem. simply defunding or shuttering education entirely wont work; however, looking at who is involved at funding, in what way they fund, and how that funding is used to strongarm schools into pushing an agenda would open a lot of eyes. Theres a federal/leftist agenda that’s widely supported by teachers unions as well. In this guys case, the entire drive behind busting his balls over taking his family on a vacation is federal funding (doled out at the state level) based on a per-student/per-day formula. By bringing the funding, oversight, management, staffing, etc back to the local level the responsibility for and the end result of education is returned to the citizens, parents, and in a way the students themselves. As a bonus, no power players get to push their political agenda on young minds.

          • like hell, shut ’em down completely

          • Ok, and the alternative would be what?
            No education? Back to manual labor for everyone other than the elite? Do you even understand the problem, or are you just talking out your rear?

          • how long have you been a fool and idiot?

          • care to answer? preferably with actual facts?

  • Half the time the attendance office robocalls me to tell me my kids absent, despite me dropping her off personally. When I follow up, the invariably find she is and has been there all along.

  • ron17571

    Actually there are reasons. Like learning to deal with others. Also not every school has people as nutty as in this story.

  • Alice

    The school’s are following Alice Bailey’s (Lucis trust/Luciferian/Satan) 10 point charter. Look it up because it is so very evil.

  • BigGaySteve

    Tell your kids that if the schools ask if the family has any secrets to say” The school superintendent was naked over at uncle Steve’s house”

    • “He asked if we had any guns in the home and i hold him he should go see uncle Steve’s…”

    • queenofmeanie


  • The signs of the end times are everywhere…

    As we witness such things as the spread of globalism, the building of a one-world church, the increase of wickedness, the breakdown of the traditional family, the destruction of that priceless bastion of liberty called America, the normalization of homosexuality, the callous murder of babies, the filthy pop culture, the breathtaking increase in governmental surveillance, we become fearful, uncertain, frustrated, angry, and discouraged, but this is because our minds and hearts are too focused on things of this world rather than things above. Too often we have the same short view that “conservative” unbelievers have rather than the long view that comes from the light of Bible prophecy…

    The devil is the god of this world, and his handiwork is evident everywhere, but he is not God and he is not in control of the times and the seasons.

    “Daniel answered and said, Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are his: And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding” (Dan. 2:20-21).

    We should stand in the confidence that the present evil is exceedingly temporary and will soon be cut down.

    Please visit our Bible Prophecy website at:

    • If I am reading Revelation correctly, I believe one of the plagues released upon the earth was “attendance officers”.
      That or my translation of the original Hebrew is off a bit. Either way, it’s obviously the end times.

  • Uh, I can’t trust many parents to feed, clothe, and teach their own kids how to grow up with a basic moral compass and wipe their own ass and you want these people to homeschool their kids..?

  • queenofmeanie

    Home school and tell the school district to “F” off. This is ridiculous. Any teacher ask any of my children questions regarding our home, they are instructed to stay in their lane and mind their own homes and stay out of ours.