Police & Fire

Students Lead ‘Die-In’ at Congressman Lance’s Office; Summit Boy Arrested

e7f23305d674523a7b5d_24700c392a1815008c06_IMG_0927.JPG
Activists lay on the sidewalk outside of Congressman Leonard Lance's Westfield office during a "die-in" to demand changes to gun control. Credits: Kate Brochu
5dcb744e1f3fb21ff078_IMG_1765.jpg
Activists lay on floor inside of Congressman Leonard Lance's Westfield office during a "die-in" to demand changes to gun control laws. Credits: Kate Brochu
6f4d9c0f58f8d03ef0a2_IMG_0933.JPG
Local high school students gather outside of Congressman Leonard Lance's Westfield office on Tuesday to stage a die-in for gun control. Credits: Kate Brochu
2566cc85b3cf1cc6d07b_IMG_0932.JPG
Protesters gather outside of Congressman Leonard Lance's Westfield office on Tuesday to demand changes to gun control. Credits: Kate Brochu
86bfe7cb050a6ad9c221_957ff247e8d8b7b8a4e2_IMG_0930.JPG
Local students stage a "die-in" outside of Congressman Leonard Lance's Westfield office on Tuesday. Credits: Kate Brochu
17d7411c0bfb1e99ccb2_3ba6b338b36d3117230c_IMG_0929.JPG
Activists, parents, and students staged a "die-in" at Congressman Leonard Lance's Westfield office on Tuesday to demand changes to gun control. Credits: Kate Brochu
9cdcae80cc90e0a13f28_0e84b3bffb75674aca57_IMG_0920.JPG
Approximately 30 activists joined a "die-in" on Tuesday outside of Congressman Leonard Lance's Westfield office to support gun law reform. Credits: Kate Brochu
8e99043689e5faff3de9_5cc3cc5f3981c3d2f911_IMG_0913.JPG
Activists chant and sing outside of Congressman Leonard Lance's Westfield office on Tuesday during a student-lead "die in." Credits: Kate Brochu
bcfaeff5276a198f16e0_45837177044f5472ed0e_IMG_0906.JPG
Protestors gather outside of the Westfield Police Department where 17-year-old Ben Schachter was being held briefly before being released to his mother. Credits: Kate Brochu
e7f23305d674523a7b5d_24700c392a1815008c06_IMG_0927.JPG

WESTFIELD, NJ — Seventeen-year-old Summit High School student Ben Schachter was taken away in handcuffs Tuesday during a gun safety “die-in” protest led by local high school students at Congressman Leonard Lance's Westfield office. Lance was not present at the office at the time.

“We are organizing this ‘die-in’ at Congressman Lance’s office to get him to sign the resolution to pass HR 4240 to the House out of committee, which is the issue we’re facing right now,” said event organizer and Westfield High School sophomore Colin Sumner. “We are looking for him to do that so our lives can be better protected and it can be a safer day in New Jersey and this country.”

Lance is a cosponsor of the bill, which was first introduced on Nov. 3, 2017. The bill is designed to protect Second Amendment rights and to ensure that individuals who should be prohibited from buying a firearm are listed in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.

Sign Up for E-News

About 30 activists were at Tuesday’s event, with the majority of participants staging the die-in on the sidewalk outside Congressman Lance’s office. Ten were permitted to demonstrate inside the office on East Broad Street.

The office, which is typically open until 5 p.m., allowed the activists to stay inside the building until 6 p.m. Staff members told the activists that the lights would be turned off and the office alarm system would be activated at that time.

When the majority of protesters inside Congressman Lance’s office left at 6 p.m., Schachter refused to leave.

“He made his choice and I am proud of him,” said his mother, Pam Schachter. “I’m incredibly proud of his caring choice to be here to use his voice for the safety of himself and other students and his willingness to take the risk by laying down in Lance’s office.”

“We have been nothing but gracious,” said Congressman Lance’s Chief of Staff Todd Mitchell, who explained that the staff was following standard procedure by closing and securing the office. “He can stay if he wants but the alarm must go on,” he said, adding that the Congressman’s office was not responsible for calling police and that, instead, it was property management’s decision.

Local activist Stacey Gregg questioned Mitchell’s judgment to leave Schachter inside the secured business and asked if the Congressman was made aware of the decision to close the office for the evening.

“He put it in your hands to manage the office and to do such a thing as to turn the lights off,” Gregg asked.  

“He was asked to leave, he chose not to leave. I don’t think the lights being off are going to traumatize the child,” said Mitchell.

Shortly after 6 p.m., Westfield Police entered the office and arrested Schachter without incident. Schachter was taken to Westfield Police Department where he was released to his mother. Because he is a minor, no bail was required.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Clark

Upcoming Events

Thu, June 21, 1:15 PM

Calvary Lutheran Church, Cranford

Mid-Week Worship & Service

Thu, June 28, 1:15 PM

Calvary Lutheran Church, Cranford

Mid-Week Worship & Service

Carousel_image_5215384026d55e2b196a_flour

Thu, June 28, 7:00 PM

Scotch Plains

Learn about Fluorescent Minerals at the Scotch ...

Reminder: Free Electronics Recycling for Union County Residents, June 30

June 14, 2018

Union County is offering a free electronics recycling event on Saturday, June 30 from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Union County Vocational-Technical Schools campus, 1776 Raritan Road in Scotch Plains.

Any Union County resident may bring unwanted televisions, computers, printers, and other electronic equipment to this e-cycling site. There is a limit of six items per ...

Cranford Resident Rode His Bike Nearly 500 Miles

June 14, 2018

CRANFORD – Cranford resident Kent Lucas was one of 150 commuters who embraced a more sustainable commute by trading in his car keys for pedals during TransOptions’ annual Bike to Work Challenge.

Through TransOptions’ GoForGood app, riders tracked their bicycle commute trips and miles from May 1st through May 31st. Participants who joined the challenge were entered to win ...

Get Empowered to Help Prevent Suicide

June 8, 2018

Over the past week social media and the news have been filled with stories and articles encouraging people to seek help if they’re in emotional distress. There have been countless articles about the need to break the silence around the topic of mental health and suicide, and I am encouraged by the support people are extending to others.

Often, the death by suicide by prominent ...

AtlantiCast

AtlantiCast: Episode 16

Summer is in the air, and the latest episode of AtlantiCast is ready to help you enjoy some fun outdoors while staying safe! This week’s episode opens with tips for sunscreen usage from Atlantic Health System’s Chief Medical and Academic Officer, Dr. Jan Schwarz-Miller. You’ll also learn about how Atlantic Health System is advancing the future of health care through ...

Obituaries

Jun 29, 1927 - Apr 23, 2018
Margaret (Peggy) Kirk Leonard passed away Monday, April 23rd, surrounded by her loved ones. Peggy ...
Read more