8th Grade students refuse picture with Paul Ryan
Despite the seemingly happy photo of Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, with students, more than half of the 200 New Jersey middle schoolers refused a photo with the Republican politician.
On May 25th, 2017, South Orange Middle School students were on a school trip to Washington D.C. When the opportunity arose, over half of the students refused to take a picture with Ryan.
13-year-old Matthew Malespina waited across the street from the Capitol steps with the other students refusing the picture. “I was like, ‘Oh God, I’m not taking a picture with this man.’ I first texted my mom because my mom hates Paul Ryan as well,” he told The New York Post. After receiving permission to skip the photo from his mother, Elissa Malespina, Matthew and a few of his friends waited for the rest of their classmates to finish their pictures. “I am proud of him that he chose to not do that and I am proud he did so in a respectful manner,” she told The New York Post.
Elissa Malespina noted that children are capable of making “good choices” and “to make educated choices and they are not indoctrinated by their parents. And they have a good understanding of what’s going on in society. I respect children who chose to take a picture with him and also kids who don’t.” To Matthew’s surprise, there were quite a few students who agreed with his decision to decline the photo. “I was shocked by the number of people who wanted to join me and my friends to not take a picture of him. It was like half the grade”. He also told The New York Post, “Our school is pretty liberal. I only know three Trump supporters in our grade and there’s a lot [of] people in our grade. So it’s fairly liberal. [Teachers] knew that a lot of people didn’t like Paul Ryan”. The Republican speaker of the house is frequently acclaimed for his weak support of public education funding, LGBTQ+ rights, and helping to usher in the newest healthcare or ‘TrumpCare’ bill that can be detrimental to millions of Americans. “I have pre-existing conditions. My son has pre – existing conditions. My husband has pre – existing conditions that under this new law if my husband or I lose our jobs we might not be able to get health care, and that’s scary, ” Elissa told The New York Post as just a few reasons why she doesn’t support Paul Ryan. Nevertheless, a picture with the 8th graders was still posted to Ryan’s Instagram page with the caption ‘I’ve got that Friday Feeling’ with a fist emoji. A Ryan spokesperson said he “always appreciates the opportunity to welcome students to the Capitol.” While Matthew says “If he realized a lot of people didn’t take a picture of him and most people in that picture didn’t like him, which is kind of ironic”.
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