New Jersey Teacher Saves Student from Choking During Math Class: 'Did This Just Really Happen?'

East Orange Community Charter School teacher JaNiece Jenkins performed the Heimlich maneuver on her student when he was choking on a bottle cap

Teacher saves choking student inside East Orange charter school classroom
Photo: CBS New York

A New Jersey teacher saved the life of one of her third grade students after the child got a bottle cap lodged in his throat.

JaNiece Jenkins, a teacher at East Orange Community Charter School, jumped into action when she heard her student Robert coughing, CBS New York reported. The frightening ordeal unfolded in Jenkins' classroom Wednesday, per

While she initially thought Robert was clearing his throat, she realized he was choking when he ran over to her. Jenkins then performed the Heimlich maneuver and cleared the cap from Robert's airway.

"I just sprung into action," the teacher told CBS. "After, I was relieved. I was relieved that he was okay and he was safe. But then I'm like, 'Oh my gosh, did this just really happen?'"

Robert had been trying to open his water bottle with his teeth as his class' math lesson began around 11:15 a.m. Wednesday, and began choking when he squeezed on the bottle, reported.

"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," Jenkins told NJ Advance Media, per the outlet.

"He ran to me and couldn't talk so he was pointing to his throat. Then I just went to deliver the Heimlich maneuver and luckily it popped out and he was OK," she continued.

Jenkins is familiar with first aid; she was trained in CPR and first aid as a preschool teacher and recently refreshed her CPR skills by taking a course, according to

The educator told NJ Advance Media that the Wednesday scare marked the first time she had done the Heimlich maneuver "for real."

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"Once he was safe, I got him to the nurse and I felt 100% better," she 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."

Now, Jenkins is being recognized for her heroic actions. The teacher will receive an award and proclamation from East Orange Mayor Ted Green and Congressman Donald Payne Jr., according to CBS New York.

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