Dozens of New Jersey Middle School Students Refused to Pose for a Picture With Paul Ryan on Their Class Trip

Photo: AP

Some very sensible 8th grade students from New Jersey would not deign to be seen in a photograph with Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan during their field trip to Washington. About half of the 150 South Orange Middle School students on the trip watched from a parking lot as the rest of their cohort sidled up to Ryan for a picture they probably untagged themselves from hours later.

Matthew Malespina, one of the students who refused to pose, told the Washington Post on Sunday, “I don’t want to be associated with a man who puts his party before his country. I don’t like to take a picture with somebody that I can’t associate with. Let’s say somebody is not nice to met at school, for example. I wouldn’t take a picture with them, probably.”


Malespina told ABC he was notified of the impending photo op the night before, so he texted his mom telling her he wasn’t going to do it, to which she texted back, “Say you would rather not.”

Some parents, apparently not as cool as Matthew’s mom, took issue with the protest. According to ABC, one parent posted on social media that students should respect Ryan because he has a fancy job, no matter how much you may want health insurance someday.

Ryan posted a picture from the school trip on Friday, giving himself the false appearance of being popular and having feelings.


Students told ABC that Ryan did not seem to notice the dissident middle schoolers standing in solidarity against him and all the parents of this country who just don’t get it.

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About the author

Hannah Gold

contributing writer, nights