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Heroic teacher saves student from choking

As soon as teacher JaNiece Jenkins noticed something was wrong, she jumped right into action.
Credit: AP
In this Thursday, March 11, 2021 file photo, desks are arranged in a classroom at an elementary school in Nesquehoning, Pa. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum, File)

WASHINGTON — Demonstrating the Heimlich maneuver wasn't on teacher JaNiece Jenkins' lesson plan for Tuesday. But when one of her students started choking, her quick thinking saved his life. 

In a video captured by the surveillance footage at East Orange Community Charter School in East Orange, N.J., one of Jenkins' 9-year-old students is seen struggling to open a water bottle, eventually trying to twist off the lid with his teeth. As the third grader squeezes the bottle and tilts his head back, the pressure finally squeezes the cap off, lodging the cap in his throat. 

RELATED: How to help a choking child

Panicked, the student runs over to a sink trying to cough out the lid only to realize it's not coming out. He then walks over to Jenkins' desk where he points at his throat signaling for help. 

Without hesitation, Jenkins gets up and springs into action. After giving him a few good squeezes using the Heimlich maneuver, the boy manages to cough up the lid. 

RELATED: 'This is serious': Valley woman who saved man's life at Phoenix Applebees urges others to learn CPR

The video has since gone viral, with social media praising Jenkins' quick thinking. On Twitter, Rep. Donald Payne Jr. called Jenkins a "community hero."

In an interview with NJ Advanced Media, Jenkins said that she first learned how to perform the Heimlich and CPR when she started teaching pre-school several years ago, but she recently took a first aid refresher course. 

RELATED: American Heart Association provides Methodist hospitals with child CPR kits


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