Tennessee fourth grader honored for helping to save teacher from choking

WHITE BLUFF, Tenn. — A fourth grader in Tennessee was honored this week for helping to save her teacher from choking during a field day at her school last month.

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Priya Smith, who attends White Bluff Elementary School, was honored with a certificate from Dickson County Sheriff Tim Eads, WTVF reported.

On April 29, Smith and her classmates were enjoying lunch during a field day at the school when teacher Stephen Buttrey began choking, the sheriff’s office wrote in a Facebook post. The child grabbed the teacher’s key card from his lanyard and went inside the school to alert officials.

“All of us were just eating, and then Mr. Buttrey took a bite of the hamburger and chokes on a piece,” Smith told WKRC-TV. “Kids were just freaking out and some kids were banging on the windows that we had, and so no one was doing really anything.

“So, I just took (Buttrey’s) lanyard, not thinking anything and just got into the building.”

Buttrey said during the ceremony that he was grateful Smith reacted so quickly and decisively.

“These kids are under my care, you know? I’m supposed to be taking care of these kids right now, and I’m at a position where I need their help, and I needed to be looked after, and it was scary,” Buttrey told WKRC. “I tell my kids I love them all the time, and you know, I told her immediately, you know, ‘Let me thank you and appreciate you,’ and everything, but I was like, ‘It’s got to go beyond this.’”

Smith received a hug from her teacher and a commendation from the sheriff’s office.

“Because of Priya’s quick thinking, Mr. Buttrey received the help he needed and was able to be here today to recognize her actions,” the sheriff’s office wrote on Facebook.