By MICHAEL NUNES
SOUTH RIVER — Third graders from South River Elementary School toured the borough to get a better understand of how the town functions.
“Right now in our social studies class, we are learning about all of the services that are provided by the community. The children really get a chance to see it in action and ask their questions to the actual people who are doing that job,” said Jill Kababick, a third grade teacher at South River Elementary School.
More than 200 third grade students met members of the borough emergency services and local government on May 19, taking time to visit the police station, fire station, EMS building and the museum on Main Street.
According Sgt. Eddie Yorek, who said that the event has been around 15 years, touring students though the police station is a good way of addressing misconceptions about crime that some students may have.
“We take them into the cell block, and this is the most important thing for the [students], we tell them not everybody that gets arrested [is a bad person], they just might have made a mistake,” Yorek said. “But there are some bad people, and when you put them behind bars, sometimes it changes their lives for the better.”
Students also met with local politicians and learned how municipality, state and federal governments work.
“This is very important because the children come and it is so good that we have the different levels of government here so that each one can explain a little bit about what they do and the children could have a better idea of how their government works,” said Mayor John Krenzel, who was joined by Assemblywoman Nancy Pinkin (D-Middlesex) and borough Councilman Ryan Jones.
For Pinkin, this is a way to get kids introduced to government and to better shape their understanding of the way things work.
“To me this is where you form people’s thinking about government for the future. This is important to do because it gets them engaged and makes them see that government works for them,” she said.
Contact Michael Nunes at firstname.lastname@example.org.