Government

Students Lead ‘Die-In’ at Congressman Lance’s Westfield Office; One 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 bale was required.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Millburn/Short Hills

Video: Scoutmaster Ken Fineran Street Dedication Ceremony

May 21, 2018

MILLBURN, NJ - Millburn Township and Boy Scout Troop 17 of St. Rose of Lima honored the life and accomplishments of late Scoutmaster Kenneth W. Fineran on Sunday, May 20. Troop 17 Scouts, in conjunction with Millburn Township and St. Rose of Lima Church.

Millburn Student's Bike Stolen, Millburn Police Investigating

June 12, 2018

On June 5, 2018 Millburn Police Officer Tavares responded to the Louis Vuitton store at The Mall at Short Hills on a theft report. Louis Vuitton personnel report a black male with dread locks wearing a black t-shirt, red shorts, black leggings, and white/red sneakers took two pairs of sunglasses valued at $870.00 and left the store without making payment. The incident is under investigation by ...

AtlantiCast

AtlantiCast Episode 17

On this week’s AtlantiCast, it’s National Men’s Health Month, so check out important health tips for you or the men in your life, learn about groundbreaking research into breast cancer treatment that could mean an end to chemotherapy for some patients, meet a local sports hero who’s living his baseball dreams thanks to Goryeb Children’s Hospital and much ...

Get Empowered to Help Prevent Suicide

June 12, 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 ...

Upcoming Events

Fri, June 22, 8:00 PM

Education Center, West Orange

Night Moves: Evening Guided Zoo Tours

Education Other

Carousel_image_5e177eaae57739064cd4_397f63ad2fb50392a776_29178074_2107642336134787_2638697507160326144_n

Sun, June 24, 11:00 AM

Totowa

MakerFest 2018

Wed, June 27, 6:00 PM

Reeves-Reed Arboretum, Summit

Inkubate

Arts & Entertainment Home & Garden

Meet Your Local Prosthodontist

June 22, 2018

WEST ORANGE, NJ - Dr. Efterpi (Effie) Zantopoulos Deegan of Deegan Dental received her Certificate of Prosthodontics from University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ), after attending dental school there as well.  She is an alumnus of Rutgers- Newark College of Arts and Sciences and West Orange High School. Dr. Deegan is half-time faculty at Rutgers School ...

NCJW/Essex Hosts The Five Stages of Career Transition with Motivational Speaker Frederica Peterson

LIVINGSTON, NJ -- On Tuesday, June 12, 2018, Frederica Peterson, Motivational Speaker and Career Coach, MA, CPC, ELI-MP, engaged nearly 50 women at the Linda and Rudy Slucker NCJW/Essex Center for Women about moving forward in one’s career and in life. Peterson examined how many women feel stuck and trapped in negative thoughts, but how with the right mindset it’s possible to ...

Millburn-Short Hills Democratic Committee Looking to Fill District Leader Spots

ESSEX COUNTY, NJ - The Millburn-Short Hills Democratic Committee is stronger than ever and proudly represents itself along with Essex County Executive Joseph Di Vincenzo and newly re-elected Essex County Democratic Chairman LeRoy Jones at the Essex County Democratic Reorganization meeting.

The local committee currently has a record 29 of 32 District Leader spots filled. We have a female ...

Cool Ways to Save Money This Summer

As the summer temperatures rise, home cooling costs rise as well. But there are ways to help save money without sweating the heat:

To increase your cooling system’s efficiency by as much as 20%, get it checked out for summer.  A technician will clean the condenser, make sure you have the optimal amount of refrigerant, and ensure the airflow over the coil is ...