East Orange: Third Grade Teacher Saves Student Choking On Water Bottle Cap

Source: NJ.com

It was shaping up as a typical school day for JaNeice Jenkins’ 3rd graders Wednesday at East Orange Community Charter School.

The students had returned to the classroom at 11:15 a.m. following gym and were settling into their math lesson.

Minutes later, Jenkins realized one of her students had started choking on a water bottle cap. She performed the Heimlich maneuver on the boy, clearing his airway.

“I didn’t really think, I just acted,” she sais. “I saw he needed help and I just sprung into action to help him. He couldn’t breathe, his face was pretty pale and he had a look of desperation on his face.”

The boy began choking on the cap after trying to open the water bottle with his teeth as he squeezed on it, Jenkins said.

Once the student realized he couldn’t dislodge the cap from his throat on his own, he raced to Jenkins, who years ago had been trained in CPR and basic first aid when she was a preschool teacher.

“He ran to me and couldn’t talk so he was pointing to his throat,” Jenkins said. “Then I just went to deliver the Heimlich maneuver and luckily it popped out and he was OK.”

Jenkins, who is also a cheerleading coach at Montclair High School, said she’d recently taken a refresher course in first aid. A teacher for 14 years, Jenkins has worked at East Orange Community Charter School for five years.

She said that while she managed to keep her composure in the immediate aftermath of the incident, Jenkins later realized the ramifications of her potentially life-saving actions.

“Once he was safe, I got him to the nurse and I felt 100% better,” Jenkins said. “Then my emotions got the best of me in hindsight thinking of what could’ve happened. Thank God, I was able to do what I did. This is the first time I ever did the (Heimlich maneuver) for real. I’m glad it worked.”

Her principal, Tracey Watkins, also couldn’t have been more grateful: “This situation could have had a tragic outcome. As a school community, we are so grateful to and proud of Ms. Jenkins. Instead of freezing and panicking, she recalled what she learned in CPR training and used those skills to save a life.”

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