When 200 eighth-grade students from New Jersey’s South Orange Middle School took a class trip to Washington, D.C., last week and were offered a chance to be in a picture with Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, about half of them said no.
ABC7 New York caught up with some of the 100 or so students who decided to stand out of the picture on the steps of the U.S. Capitol.
Matthew Malespina, one student who sat out, called it “much more than a picture.” He objected to “being associated with a person who puts his party before his country,” and texted his mother to ask how to handle it. She recommended he say, politely, that he’d rather not participate. So he did.
“I’m just not going to do it,” he said.
When interviewed by New York’s FOX5, he said: “First thing I said was, ‘I can’t take a picture with him. I don’t want to.’”
Malespina, who was evidently a go-to South Orange student for interviews, told the Village Green, “I can’t take a picture with someone who supports a budget that would destroy public education and would leave 23 million people without health care.”
Plenty of students, however, felt just fine joining the speaker of the House for a photograph, even if they didn’t agree with his agenda.
Student Alex Klint said it would be “interesting” to get close to “one of the nation’s lawmakers in person even if I strongly disagree with many of his views.”
Other students and parents had similarly nuanced stances, noting that while some of his policies are unpopular, Speaker Ryan might still be worth meeting.
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