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'I look at them as my own kids': School resource officer uses training to save choking student

The deputy took quick action to assist a student who began choking on a grape during lunch

OAKWOOD, Ga. — Seeing Hall County Deputy Zack Marley eating lunch with students at West Hall High School is not out of the norm. However, Thursday's lunch was far from the norm. 

Marley took quick action to assist a student who began choking on a grape. 

At 12:10 p.m., Marley said he heard his name being yelled by teachers. As he approached the calls for help, he saw a 15-year-old student in need.

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.” 

Credit: Hall County Sheriff's Office

The student was checked out by the school nurses and did not require any additional treatment.

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.”


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