Nearly 100 eighth grade students from South Orange Middle School in New Jersey refused to take a photo with Speaker Paul Ryan during a school trip in Washington D.C. Friday. When presented with an opportunity to be photographed with the 54th Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, some students stood apart, citing differences with Ryan and even President Trump as their reason for opting out.
The 8th graders chose to sit in a parking lot across the street as the other students posed with Speaker Ryan.
“I can’t take a picture with someone who supports a budget that would destroy public education and would leave 23 million people without healthcare,” one student, Matthew Malespina, told local newspaper The Village Green.
Another, Louisa Maynard-Parisi, told the paper, “I didn’t want to be in [the picture] because he believes in most of what Trump believes in.”
Ryan posted the photo he took with the class on Instagram, writing: “Got that #FridayFeeling.” The photo features him giving a “fist pump” to a female student in the crowd.
When asked, some parents felt that the students actions were offensive. As an elected official, some felt Ryan deserved consideration and felt many would have been offended if conservative students had refused to be photographed with former President Barack Obama.
Matthew Malespina’s mother felt differently. She told The Village Green, “I am proud of my son and all the other students who chose to respectfully not to participate in the photograph with Speaker Ryan.”
Some are calling the students actions a welcome form of “resistance.”
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