House Speaker Paul Ryan was recently shamed by around 100 eighth grade students who refused to take photos with him.
The students of South Orange Middle School in New Jersey visited the U.S. Capitol as a field trip late last week. But when the opportunity came for them to take a photo with a member of Congress, half of them refused to do so, because they disdain Paul Ryan.
When the House speaker uploaded the picture on his Instagram page, many of the students flooded the comment section with criticism of the Trump administration’s discriminate policies.
Matthew Malespina, 13, said he decided not to have his photo taken with Ryan because his party was pushing the controversial GOP health care bill — a plan that could make 23 million Americans lose their health coverage.
“I don't want to be associated with a man who puts his party before his country,” he said. “I don't like to take a picture with somebody that I can't associate with. Let's say somebody is not nice to me at school, for example. I wouldn't take a picture with them, probably.”
He also said Ryan probably didn't understand that half the students across the street were actually protesting him because he posted the picture with the caption, “Got that #FridayFeeling.”
"I was disgusted. What he wrote was hilarious. He’s [with] a bunch of people who don’t really like him and says ‘I got that Friday Feeling.’ And that’s what I was really annoyed about it. 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,” the teen added.
He also said he was quite shocked that so many students joined Ryan for the photo-op, despite the fact most of them oppose Ryan’s views on health care.
“I think that taking the picture represents that you agree with the same political views and I don’t agree with his political views so I chose not to be in it,” said another student, Wendy Weeks.
Malespina’s mother, Elissa, a public-school librarian, said she was surprised but approved of the students’ silent protest.
“I'm proud of him, and I'm proud of the other students that chose to exercise their constitutional rights and did so in a respectful manner,” she said.
However, she also said she was concerned with some online comments that states parents were “indoctrinating” their children and have received death threats.
"Our community has been supportive of what has happened," she said. "Outside our area, people have said that they should shoot the parents."
"Teenagers, honestly, do they listen to their parents anyway?” she added.
She’s right on that count. Students all over the country are taking stands on their own. Just a few days ago, a group of students walked out on Vice President Mike Pence at Notre Dame University.
Although these demonstrations are all silent, they speak volumes. If only the Trump administration would pay heed to them.