Piscataway Middle Schoolers get a Real-World Civics Lesson from Congressman Frank Pallone

Congressman Frank Pallone (2nd from Left) visits Schor Middle School Credits: Kenneth Simmons
Credits: Kenneth Simmons
Congrssman Pallone reads the students' social justice concerns Credits: Kenneth Simmons
Credits: Kenneth Simmons

PISCATAWAY, NJ – With gun control and school safety on the minds of many students, a group of 6th graders at Piscataway’s Theodore Schor Middle School wanted to know more about how other laws impact everyday life in the Garden State.

Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06) stopped by Tuesday morning to answer their questions and give examples of how the lessons they are learning in their social studies classes affect the world around them.

“They were learning about how the government works and came up with a lot of good questions on their own,” said their social studies teacher, Erin McCaffrey who helped arrange for the congressman’s visit.

Sign Up for E-News

Pallone applauded the anti-gun rallies that just took place, assuring the middle schoolers that the student activism shown across the country is starting to work.

“This is a movement that’s been activated by students,” he said about the student led social justice groups that have been demonstrating for more protections from gun violence. “Changes have been going on at the federal level so it’s proving to be effective.”

“It’s pretty clear that restrictions on criminal background checks, or a prohibition on certain types of assault weapons, or limiting the rounds of ammunition, all of these could be put in place without infringing on the 2nd Amendment,” said Pallone who explained that a Supreme Court ruling allows for such controls if they are deemed necessary for the general good.

“We have to have some very strong gun safety laws in place because we don’t want the mass shootings that keep getting more frequent,” he said, adding how children are also being killed in gang related gun violence.

The students also asked about other subjects including how the government could create more well-paying jobs across the state, affordable college and health care options, and eliminating off-shore dumping.

Pallone told them how Gov. Phil Murphy plans to make New Jersey an innovation center and that new technology will bring better job opportunities to the state. But first, investment programs are needed from the federal government to fund major infrastructure projects such bridge and road construction, he said.

And while some advocate for free college tuition, especially to attend county and state schools, the costs would have to be offset with federal government funding which isn’t yet available, said Pallone. Therefore, New Jersey lawmakers are looking into options to help control rates.

Although garbage is no longer dumped off the shores of New Jersey, Pallone said there is a push for offshore oil and natural gas drilling along the entire Atlantic seacoast which he opposes.

“This affects the environment and would mean beaches would have to close,” he said.

As 11 and 12-year-olds, the 6th graders wanted to know how they could make a difference at their young ages.

“If your school has one, get involved with your student government and public speaking, or join the debate club as a start,” said Pallone, adding they could also help with election campaigns, stuffing envelopes or passing out flyers.

“And if you have an idea for a bill, contact my office,” he added, noting how impressed he was with their level of engagement. “These are not tough questions, but important questions.” is an online newspaper serving the Township of Piscataway.

Sign up for our FREE daily eNews. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter @PiscatawayTAP.

Businesses: Advertise with TAPinto Piscataway. Click here for more information.

Download the TAPinto App!   Click here for Android.  Click here for iOS.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Staci Berger for Ward 3 Piscataway Township Council, June 5 Democratic Primary

April 24, 2018

1. Why are you running for election for Piscataway Township Council, Ward 3?

I am running for the Piscataway Township Council Ward 3 position because our community needs new leadership. I will be the independent, principled, and collaborative advocate our neighborhood deserves.

I have been a Piscataway homeowner for 20 years.  I am proud that my husband, Bill Irwin, and I are raising ...

Dr. Jacqueline Littlejohn - Candidate for Piscataway Town Council

Why are you running for election to the Piscataway Township Council?

I am running for election to the Piscataway Township Council because I believe that a vibrant democracy only flourishes when the governed have a voice in their government, be it in the form of compromise, protest, or even becoming viable candidates themselves. I have chosen the latter approach. As a candidate I want to be the ...

The Piscataway Democratic Organization Names its 2018 Ward Slate

The Piscataway Democratic Party is putting forward an incredible slate of ward candidates for the Township Council.  “Frank Uhrin, Jim Bullard, Steven D. Cahn and Michele Lombardi have brought us a 12 percent drop in the tax rate, many new job opportunities for hard working residents, and a rise in property values,” party chair and former mayor, Ted Light said.  ...

East Brunswick's Rachelle Francois Missing Since Friday

April 25, 2018

EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ - Rachelle Francois is a missing and endangered person from East Brunswick.

She was released from Maimonides Hospital in Brooklyn, NY on Friday, April 20, 2018 around noon.

Francois was placed in a taxi cab by the hospital and then went to an unknown address in Elizabeth, not to her home in East Brunswick.

Ms. Francois requires medications, and it is believed ...


Piscataway – Reinhard Rudolf Kiefer, 85, died Sunday March 11, 2018 at home. Born in ...
Read more
Piscataway, NJ – Manuela Cruz, 94, born July 17, 1923, passed away peacefully on March 8, ...
Read more

Westfield Residents Host 6th Annual Massive Tag Sale to Benefit Furniture Assist

April 25, 2018

If you like a bargain, love antiques or collectibles, or need furniture/household/clothing/children’s items, please visit the upcoming 6th Annual Massive Tag Sale Friday & Saturday, April 27-28, starting at 9 a.m., to benefit Furniture Assist. The sale is held at 816 Prospect Street, Westfield, NJ, and attracts bargain-hunters, antique dealers and collectors from all over New ...

Step Outdoors and Into Spring with the Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Middlesex County

EARTH CENTER, SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ - Looking for something to do outdoors? The Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Middlesex County is pleased to announce its spring and summer events! There will be opportunities for kids and adults to learn the basics of gardening, for experienced gardeners to sharpen their skills and for bargain hunters to add to their collections.

These events are ...

Ready for Rutgers Day this Saturday?

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - RU ready for Rutgers Day?

You will not want to miss the university’s annual welcome and show-and-tell for New Jersey residents of all ages. It all takes place this Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

It is already thr 10th anniversary of Rutgers Day, There will be more than 700 free performances, demonstrations and interactive activities. Last ...

Holy Savior Academy Excels in the Arts - Annual Spring Musical, Art Show to Take Place in May

SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – The students and staff at Holy Savior Academy, a pre-K3 through eighth grade AdvancedED accredited Middlebrook Deanery Catholic School located in South Plainfield, have been busy gearing up for two widely anticipated spring events. In May, the drama club will present its 4th annual Spring Spectacular Musical and a school wide art show will also take ...

Upcoming Events


Sat, April 28, 11:00 AM

New Market Firehouse, Piscataway

Sickle Cell Fundraiser and Bike Blessing

Education Giving Back

Sat, April 28, 7:00 PM

Crescent Avenue Presbyterian Church, Plainfield

Plainfield Symphony Mahler's 9th Symphony

Arts & Entertainment


Sun, April 29, 9:00 AM

Piscataway High School, Piscataway

PWay 5K Run/Walk 2018

Education Sports

Sun, April 29, 2:00 PM

Otto Kaufman Community Center, Skillman

Relax, Rejuvenate, Renew

Health & Wellness

Mon, April 30, 7:00 PM

Somerset Valley Playhouse, Hillsborough

Auditions for Smokey Joe's Cafe: The Songs of ...

Arts & Entertainment

Kurt Steiner, a Holocaust Survivor, tells Life Story as 106th Birthday Draws Near

April 23, 2018

CRANFORD, NJ – In a quaint white house near the border of Cranford and Garwood, 105-year-old Kurt Steiner sat at his dining room table, surrounded by cabinets that held his collection of Viennese glass and antique Limoge plates. At his table, he had his carefully taped together passport and exit papers from Vienna, Austria, stamped with a large “J” and “Jude,” the ...

Cluelessly Clueless

I teenaged my way through high school under the assumption that my parents had no idea what I was doing.  I like to think I was pretty good at withholding information and presenting situations in ways that were other than they really were.


Still, sometimes they found things out.  Like the time my friends plopped me on our front door step at one o'clock in the morning ...