Dallas ISD PE teachers credited for saving student's life

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Two Dallas ISD teachers are being praised for saving the life of one of their students.

It happened in January when a seventh grader collapsed during PE class at the George Bannerman Dealey Montessori Academy. The teachers quickly took action.

Both teachers say they’ve been CPR-certified for more than 10 years, but it wasn’t until that day they ever had to use that knowledge.

Tamesha Connaughton has been teaching for 11 years and has had training in CPR for each one of them.  But she says she never thought she’d actually use the skill until January 18 when one of her students collapsed in PE.

“When the student was lying down, she was unresponsive. But she tried to get up three or four times,” the teacher recalled. “I said it’s going to be ok. Then the student started having seizures.”

Connaughton sent students to get the principal and the nurse, who called 911 as others got the AED. But she needed help. So a student went down the hall to get science teacher Eryn Davila, who’s been CPR-certified since she was 16 years old.

“This is the first time I’ve ever had to administer CPR,” Davila said. “I didn’t even think about what I was doing. I just did it.”

Both teachers worked on giving chest compressions to the seventh grader, who was described as being pale and with labored breathing. Her pulse fading by the second.

“There was a moment I just didn’t know how it was gonna end,” Davila admitted.

EMS then arrived just minutes later.

“As a mother and a teacher, instinctively, I had to do whatever I needed to do to save her life.” Connaughton said.

School officials aren’t revealing the student’s name for privacy reasons, but they say she had an underlying medical condition that wasn’t known until this happened.  She’s since had a pacemaker put in and is back at school flourishing.

“The minute I saw her walking down those halls, I was like this is a miracle because this doesn’t happen,” Davila said.

Both teachers received an award from the school district honoring their efforts.

“Anyone sitting at home saying it can’t happen to you, it can happen to anybody,” Connaughton said. “And you need to be prepared and you need to be calm.”

After the incident, all faculty and staff at the school will now be trained and CPR-certified. A parent has donated an additional AED which will be installed in the gym where the incident happened.