A group of eighth-grade students who went to Washington, D.C., on a field trip refused to pose with House Speaker Paul Ryan because they disagreed with his politics.
Students from South Orange Middle School in New Jersey were told to pose with Ryan outside of the U.S. Capitol, and half of the group refused.
"Half of us stood across the street including me because we hate you," one student wrote in a comment alongside a photo on Ryan's Instagram account.
Another student told the Daily Mail what was going through the minds of many of the students who refused the photo.
"The fact that he puts his party before his country, he likes to think of what his party will think of him other than what his country will think of him," 13-year-old Matthew Malespina said.
Malespina's mother said she agreed with the school's decision to let the students have the option to join the photo.
"The school allowed the children to make a choice, they were very good about that. It was all quite peaceful," she said.
Many of the students flooded Ryan's Instagram photo with comments about the awkward incident.
"I find this really funny because this is my school and more than half of us chose to step out of that picture. And to add, the school is from a very liberal town, so I'm very proud to say that I was amongst the students who stood ACROSS the street," one student commented.
"Plus most of the kids who were standing there were only there to make fun of him because he's a walking talking meme."
Malespina's mother said she was proud of her son for taking a stand and holding firm to their beliefs.
"We've always talked about politics so we've always been a family that has been politically active. We didn't indoctrinate him, he has had a mind of his own ever since he was a small child and he's gathered up his own views," she told the Daily Mail.
"We are lucky to live in a community with a large number of active and engaged young people. I don't think it was a sign of disrespect. I think it was a sign of peaceful protesting. A sign of disrespect would be to curse the guy off but he chose to not take a picture with a man who was clearly doing it for a photo-op. I think all of them were rather respectful."
Meanwhile, Ryan has continued to stand behind President Donald Trump even as some Republicans began backing away amid revelations involving possible collusion with Russia. Recently, when asked about a memo written by former FBI Director James Comey which revealed Trump asked him to "move on" from the Russia investigation, Ryan declined to criticize the president.
"The last thing I'm going to do is pre-judge anything," he said, CNN reported. "I'm a person who wants to get the facts."