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Eighth Graders Refused to Take a Picture with Paul Ryan Because They “Don’t Want to Be Associated With Him”

The children are our future


When 200 eighth grade students from South Orange, New Jersey took a field trip down to Washington, D.C., they had an opportunity to take a photo with Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan – and dozens of them refused.

Reflecting the divide in America overall, about half of the students decided to join the photo, and about half decided to skip it. Interviewed by 6ABC News, one student named Matthew Malespina explained why he didn’t want to be in the photo: “It’s not just a picture. It’s being associated with a person who puts his party before his country.”

Malespina’s mother, who helped him plan how he would break the news to his teacher, said, “The point was, ‘I don’t want to be associated with him, and his policies and what he stands for.'”

According to 6ABC News, Ryan was “left entirely unaware of the eighth grade dissidents,” and he blithely posted about the meet-and-greet on Instagram later that day.

Got that #FridayFeeling 👊

A post shared by Speaker Paul Ryan (@speakerryan) on

In some ways, this is a horrifying example of how divided our country has become. The Speaker of the House should, theoretically, be a public figure whom most American schoolchildren can at least respect, if not agree with.

But in far more important ways, this incident shows that these eighth graders are very aware of what’s going on in Washington, and they recognize how inhumane and cowardly most of Ryan’s policy decisions have been. And so, with the courage the Speaker lacks, they refused to go along with someone they found morally repugnant.

(Via The Slot and 6ABC News; image via Shutterstock)

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