Lawton teachers, turned heroes, use CPR to save mentor's life - KSWO 7News | Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Lawton teachers, turned heroes, use CPR to save mentor's life

Lawton_A Lawton teacher suffered a cardiac arrest in the classroom, and two other teachers rushed in to help save her on Wednesday.  A kindergarten teacher at Douglass Learning Center, doctors say, had an arrhythmia - an abnormal heartbeat.  The Lawton Public Schools (LPS) teachers applied Cardio Pulmonary Recussutation (CPR) until paramedics arrived to take the teacher to the hospital.  She had a successful surgery on Thursday.  LPS requires CPR training for two staff members at each school.  On Wednesday, they showed that they are ready to respond. 

Jennifer Powell was teaching her fourth grade class when she heard someone yelling to call 911.  She said she had a sick feeling in her stomach as she opened her door.  "I heard my name being called, to get me, so I took off down the hall," said Powell.  "When I saw her on the floor, I just immediately responded and got down and started compressions."

Beacon Program Counselor DeAndre Swanson says the teacher in distress has been his mentor in her five years at Douglass, and the event was a long moment of shock.  "Actually seeing somebody that you work next to everyday, just laying on the floor, dying," he said.  "But after the initial shock was past, you understand that you had to act or she was going to die."  The two teachers removed the children from the classroom and worked on CPR until paramedics arrived.

Now, more teachers want to learn CPR.  "Everyone wants to be CPR-trained, which is a good thing," said Principal Ora Fitzgerald.  "As a matter of fact, Mrs. Powell was just trained in August.  She was one of the new people that was trained."  Powell admits that she was reluctant to attend CPR classes.  "I wasn't happy about going to get certified because it was on one of my days that I could work in the classroom," said Powell.  "But I was up for the challenge, and I'm glad that I did now because I was able to save a fellow co-worker's life."  Despite the harrowing experience, Powell's attitude is upbeat.  "She is somebody that has really, since my time being here, accepted me, and I think she's a really classy lady," she said.  "If she needs some attention, she can find a different way to get it from me next time."

Powell visited her mentor at the hospital and says all the hospitalized educator wanted to know was how her students were doing.  Fitzgerald says the kids are fine, and counselors are available for students and faculty to discuss what happened.  Middle schools and high schools in the Lawton system have defibrillators, and LPS Communications Director Keith Mitchell says that they are working on getting funding to provide the life-saving machines for all elementary schools as well. 

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