8th graders refuse to pose with Paul Ryan during DC field trip news Paul Ryan

(Getty Images/Instagram)

A group of New Jersey middle school students on a field trip to Washington, DC caused a stir when many of them refused to take a picture with Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan.

This all happened on Thursday and the parents reactions to the incident are symbolic of the deep political divide the country is currently experiencing.

Student Matthew Malespina couldn’t go through with the picture. “It’s not just a picture,” he said.

The students didn’t care what Ryan’s role in the government is, 100 of them refused to take part.

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“It’s being associated with a person who puts his party before his country,” Matthew said.

The students found out about the picture taking the night before it happened.

“I’m just not going to do it,” Matthew texted to his mother.

“Say you would rather not,” she replied and that is what he did.

“The point was, ‘I don’t want to be associated with him, and his policies and what he stands for,’” said Matthew’s mother, Elissa Malespina.

Some of the other parents however, saw things quite differently.

One of them said on social media that the students should respect Ryan’s position in the government even if they disagreed with his politics.

The students are from a progressive, upper middle class community and while 100 did not pose for the cameras, 100 others did.

Miles Handelman was one of the students who was in the photo.

“I thought it would be very cool just seeing the man who is the third most powerful man in our country. It would be cool, even if you disagree with him,” Handelman said.

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