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Dominion Middle School Staff Member Saves Choking Student

Mr. Ray

September 20, 2021 -- Not all heroes wear capes or combat boots. A member of the Columbus City Schools family proved just that when he quickly reacted to save a student's life. 

Issah Ray, Student Support Instructional Assistant at Dominion Middle School, is being hailed a hero after performing the Heimlich maneuver on a choking student in the school cafeteria earlier this month.

Mr. Ray"I was on lunch duty when I noticed the student choking. He was already turning a bit blue, so I just reacted," Ray said. 

Ray performed four abdominal thrusts on the student, expelling the lodged food. He then notified the school nurse immediately to evaluate the student's condition and to notify his parents. Fortunately, after a short rest, the student felt better and continued his day at school.

"Mr. Ray wasn't just in the right place at the right time," said Dorothy Flanagan, Principal, Dominion Middle School. "He was actively engaged in his supervision assignment, wasting no time to jump in to do what he's trained for -- what all of us are trained to do -- keep our students safe."

Before joining CCS, Ray worked as an emergency room trauma technician for three years, where he performed the Heimlich maneuver and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on several occasions. He says he learned a lot of valuable skills and is glad he was there to utilize them.

"At Dominion, we're committed to student safety and being hands-on with our kids. Our staff interacts with students daily in ways that humanize them as teachers. Issah Ray does just that and is an integral part of the Dominion team," Flanagan said. "We're so grateful to him for showing up each day."