EAST ORANGE, N.J. (PIX11) — It’s something 9-year-old Robert says he’s done countless times—use his teeth to pop the cap off his water bottle. But in his third-grade classroom at East Orange Community Charter School, the unexpected happened, and it was all captured on surveillance footage.
“The water squeezed it and it pushed it and then it came into my throat,” the child described. Realizing what had happened, the child is seen jumping out of his seat and running toward a sink. “I ran to this sink to see if I could get it out, but I couldn’t, so I ran to the teacher.”
His teacher, JaNiece Jenkins, quickly assessed the situation when Robert signaled to her that he was choking. “I did not really think,” she said. “I just went into action. Afterwards, that’s when everything kicked in and that’s when everything was like, ‘Oh, OK. That just happened.’”
With two thrusts using the Heimlich maneuver, she dislodged the cap and saved his life. The incident which could’ve ended in tragedy has a happy ending, and it’s being widely credited to life-saving training Jenkins and other staff at the charter school have received.
While Jenkins says she doesn’t feel like a hero, local officials think otherwise. They will be honoring the third-grade teacher with a proclamation in June.