'He needs my help.' Teacher saves life of choking student

A local teacher is being hailed as a hero for saving a student from choking – and it was all captured on video.

News 12 Staff

Apr 9, 2022, 2:23 AM

Updated 822 days ago


A local teacher is being hailed as a hero for saving a student from choking – and it was all captured on video.
JaNiece Jenkins has been teaching for 14 years. She says that she never thought she would have to use her life-saving skills in her classroom.
What started out as a normal Wednesday morning in math class quickly turned into a harrowing few minutes. This was the moment that third grader Robert Stonaker realized he was choking and ran toward his teacher. Jenkins quickly performed the Heimlich maneuver.
“I don't think that I really thought. I think I just was like, ‘He needs my help. Let me help him,’ and that's what I did,” says Jenkins.
Jenkins works at East Orange Community Charter School, where she has been teaching for five years. She's trained to perform life saving techniques, not only for her job as a teacher, but also as a cheerleading coach. So, when Stonaker started choking, she knew what to do.
Stonaker was choking on a bottle cap. He says that he tried to open his water bottle with his hands but was not able to. He then tried to open the bottle with his mouth.
“I went to the top, I squeezed it, and then the water pushed on the bottle and then it squirted the cap into my throat,” he says.
He ran to the sink attempting to get it out and when that didn't work, he ran to Jenkins
“I started pointing at my throat…and then she noticed I couldn’t talk, because if I could talk, I would have said it. I wouldn’t point to my throat,” Stonaker says.
The cap popped out of the boy’s mouth after a few seconds of Jenkins performing the Heimlich. She says she is thankful her training was effective.
"As the thoughts started to come into my head, I was starting to get emotional. I was starting to just get like, ‘What could have happened? How scary that would have been,’ and I just was like just thankful…thankful that he was OK,” Jenkins says.
Stonaker, who is a big fan of superheroes, says that his teacher is now his favorite hero.
The school and the city of East Orange will be recognizing Jenkins for her heroic actions in the coming days.

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