Rushes to aid of choking teacher

NISH Principal Curt Landry, left, shakes the hand of De’Lance Green, who went to the aid of a teacher who was choking.

Sherise Henry / The Daily Iberian

A quick-thinking senior at New Iberia Senior High School is receiving lots of thanks and praise as well as inspiration towards a new career after stepping up to help his teacher and possibly save her life.

De’Lance Green headed to class after lunch along with his classmates last week when suddenly regular classroom work turned into a real life lesson.

“I overheard the teacher behind me open up a piece of candy and then a couple of seconds went by and she told a student she was choking,” Green said. “I realized that everybody was in shock and if nobody did anything, she could have possibly died.” 

That’s when Green said he found the courage to calm himself and go to the teacher’s aid by performing the Heimlich Maneuver. The teacher coughed up the peppermint and immediately thanked her student hero.

 “I was relieved because I wasn’t nervous any more and I knew she would be fine,” Green said.

Since then the senior has received media attention, respect from his classmates and an upcoming special recognition by the Iberia Parish School Board.

 “It feels good. This is the first time I’ve ever been acknowledged like this,” he said.

The teacher wished to remain anonymous.

Faculty and students at NISH are still talking about the incident that happened April 9.

“I had first heard about it on social media and then I got to school the next day and both he and the teacher confirmed that, yes, it did happen,” NISH JAG Specialist, Nathaniel Mitchell Sr. said.

Mitchell said when his students do something bad the news spreads and he believes when the opportunity arises to spread good news about student behavior the news should spread even more.

Green’s peers are impressed as well.

“He had to do what he had to do so he got respect from me for that. Nobody else wanted to help. They were all scared,” senior and classmate Christian St. Julien said.

Underclassmen at the school also have taken note.

“It made me feel like we actually have children that are good and willing to step up and make a change and give other students in their age group a good name,” sophomore Deontray Casimere said.

NISH Principal Curt Landry said the spotlight on Green’s good deed has made the senior began to consider changing his first career choice of becoming a diesel mechanic to maybe one day pursuing a job as a paramedic.

“Since this has hit the news, we’ve had a former graduate reach out and offer to come in and show him and students what an air paramedic does,” Landry said. 

“He said he could  get the aircraft and get students to walk around and sit in it and possibly motivate more students to get into that field.”

The level of confidence exhibited in the student’s actions is felt even more so by those who hear the story after realizing how Green learned to perform the Heimlich Maneuver. 

“No one taught me, I learned from movies. My teacher thanked me and told me I was a lifesaver,” he said.

 

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