A Hall County Sheriff’s Office School Resource Officer (SRO) took quick action this afternoon to assist a student who began choking during lunch.
Deputy Zack Marley routinely sits with students during lunch at West Hall High School (WHHS) where he serves as SRO. But Thursday’s lunch period turned frightening in a matter of seconds when Marley heard his name being yelled by teachers at approximately 12:10 p.m.
As Marley approached the calls for assistance in the lunchroom, he soon realized a female student needed his help. When he asked the 15-year-old if she was choking, she pointed at her throat and nodded her head yes, according to Marley.
The Deputy, who has received first aid training from both the Sheriff’s Office and Hall County School District, began abdominal thrusts, also known as the Heimlich maneuver, on the student. After between six and eight thrusts, the student told Marley, “it’s out.” She answered, “yes,” when he asked if she was OK.
The student was checked out by the WHHS nurse and did not require any additional treatment. According to Marley, the foreign object in the girl’s throat was a grape.
Thursday’s incident was the first time Marley had to perform the maneuver. He said his training kicked in, and despite some fear, he was able to help the student.
“It scared me because that is one of my students,” Marley said. “I look at them as my own kids, so when I see one of them is in trouble, it startles me. I go into action on helping my kids. They’re not just students, they’re my kids.”