Schools can be dangerous places for many reasons. Some of those reasons have been tragically illustrated with the relatively recent school shootings.
There are other things that happen on campuses too, though. Bullying is another huge issue that people are trying more than ever to combat.
But for Pascack Hills High School senior Sarah Bazzini, the item that almost took her life was much smaller and seemingly harmless.
Roger Caron, the school’s law enforcement officer, was passing by her when he noticed that something was very wrong.
“I noticed Sarah didn’t seem right. She was stumbling a bit, moving very quickly,” he recalled.
“The closer I got I realized her color was off and she ran up to me and started giving me the choke signal. At that point, I knew exactly what was wrong.”
Bazzini had been finishing up her lunch in the hallway before class when a french fry got lodged in her throat.
The 18-year-old tried everything she could think of, including taking a drink, but nothing was working.
“I knew it was lodged in my throat,” said Bazzini, “my drink which I had in my hand couldn’t get it down. After a couple of seconds, I slowly felt myself fading, to be honest with you.”
The officer’s quick response was caught on the security camera, and he managed to successfully perform the Heimlich maneuver.
Officer Caron had decades of experience to pull from. Before working for the school, he spent 34 years with the local police department.
Though Bazzini knew him before, she appreciates him far more after her brush with death. His actions have solidified her own future plans: to become a police officer herself.
“There’s such a special bond with him now. He’s a hero,” she said.
“It’s a wonderful feeling to know you can help somebody and that’s what I took away from this,” said Caron.
Fortunately for this young woman, Caron was aware and trained to assist her. Had he not been there, someone else might have stepped in — but then again, perhaps not.
Either way, he was in the right place at the right time, and he made the right choice. Thank you, Officer Caron.
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