Alabama teacher hailed a hero for saving choking student

Published: Dec. 5, 2022 at 12:08 PM CST|Updated: Dec. 5, 2022 at 6:23 PM CST
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GOSHEN, Ala. (WSFA) - A kindergarten teacher is being hailed a hero for saving her choking student.

Joy Felch is a teacher at Goshen Elementary School. In November, Felch was in the cafeteria with her class when she noticed something was wrong with her student Atticus. He was choking on a sliced peach.

“He stood up, almost like he was trying to get my attention,” Felch said.

Felch immediately jumped into action, performing abdominal thrusts to clear Atticus’ airway.

“I could tell that he was choking. I patted him on the back and then remembered all my first aid training and knew that he needed abdominal thrust. I just jumped and performed the maneuver to help him get it out,” Felch said.

Atticus’ mother, Alexandria Hocutt, remembers getting that terrifying phone call.

“The nurse called and said that he had choked at school. But, she also immediately said that I didn’t need to worry because Mrs. Felch made sure that she took care of everything,” Hocutt said.

To thank Felch, Atticus returned to school the next day with flowers and doughnuts. But his mother wanted to go a step further. She wanted to make sure this teacher was recognized publicly, so she nominated her for WSFA 12 News Class Act. She also came to the school to thank her in person.

“It was very emotional to see mom and give her a hug and to find out that she nominated me for an award, it was just really nice,” Felch said.

“It just means a lot,” Hocutt said, “As a parent, I’m always scared that no one is going to love my son the way that I do. No one is going to take care of him the way that I do. But, there’s not a doubt in my mind that these kids here are taken care of because they are with Mrs. Felch.”

Felch has been teaching for 13 years and said she’s never experienced anything like this and said that this is an incident she’ll never forget. She said it serves as a reminder of why their training is so important. And Atticus learned a lesson too.

“He’s taking much smaller bites,” Felch said, “and he’s just doing a really great job.”

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