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Hillsborough teacher, paraprofessional help save student's life

The two jumped into action after a 4-year-old began vomiting and turning blue in the face.
Credit: Hillsborough County Schools

RUSKIN, Fla. — A Ruskin Elementary School teacher and paraprofessional's quick thinking helped save the life of one of their 4-year-old students.

Paraprofessional Kathleen Chavez said she was out on the playground with ESE Pre-K teacher Jeana Newman when one of their students was quiet and had a dazed look on his face. 

Chavez said she knew something was wrong because the boy is "a very friendly little guy" who loves playing and being the class clown.

Not long after, Newman said she saw the 4-year-old lay down and begin to vomit. At the time, Chavez said they knew the boy was sick but when he began to turn blue in the face his teachers knew something was wrong.

Chavez laid the boy back on the ground and began to give him chest compressions after suddenly becoming unresponsive. Newman then used her emergency response badge to alert the principal to the situation and allow first responders to pinpoint their exact location on school property.

It's a tool Newman said, "gives the teacher the power" in what are typically scary situations. It works by pressing the badge which then alerts everyone in the school to the emergency and causes lights in the classrooms to flash the color of the corresponding emergency, according to Newman. 

Now, thanks to their swift action, the little boy is back to being himself and playing with friends on the playground.

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