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VIDEO: Akron elementary school assistant principal saves choking student

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Posted at 10:13 AM, Sep 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-01 18:59:39-04

AKRON, Ohio  — An Akron elementary school assistant principal saved a fourth-grade student who was choking on the first day of school Monday.

Darby Baumberger performed the Heimlich maneuver on 9-year-old Arthur Clark during lunch at Betty Jane Community Learning Center.

Baumberger was on lunchroom duty when the boy began choking on a piece of a corn dog.

On Thursday, with permission from his mother, Ashley Howell, Arthur shared the story with News 5 in the same cafeteria.

He said he was talking and laughing with his cousin when he began to choke.

"I definitely realized I was choking when I started feeling like something in my throat," he said.

Surveillance video shows Baumberger race into action. She told Arthur to stand up and then whacked him a few times on the back.

"He was still coughing and I hit him on the back like three or four times and then he stopped coughing completely," Baumberger said.

When he stopped breathing, she grabbed him from behind to do upward thrusts four times, which pushed the food out of his throat.

The boy said he considers the assistant principal to be his hero.

"She's amazing, the best vice principal I could ever have," he said.

Howell said she will be eternally grateful to Baumberger and gives her a hug every time she sees the administrator.

"I'll say thank you every time I see her. I'll hug her every day if she wants a hug. I'm so appreciative because that's my only child," Howell said.

This was the first time in her 26-year career that Baumberger had to save a student from choking.

"You don't really think of yourself as a hero or the life-saver, but people keep telling me that," she said. "It makes me feel great, but again, it's my job and something I do. I'm glad he's safe and that's why I'm here to keep everybody safe."

Tune in to News 5 at 5 p.m. for more on this story.

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Darby Baumberger performed the Heimlich maneuver on 9-year-old Arthur during lunch at Betty Jane Community Learning Center