Dickson fourth grader jumps into action to save teacher's life

Posted at 3:12 PM, May 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-27 21:08:56-04

DICKSON, Tenn. (WTVF) — A 10-year-old is being hailed a hero for helping to save her teacher's life.

Priya Smith noticed her fourth grade teacher was choking and sprung into action.

She said she didn't think twice before getting her teacher help.

During field day at White Bluff Elementary school in Dickson the kids got lunch outside, Priya noticed Mr. Buttrey choking and acted quickly by grabbing his lanyard and gaining access to the school to get help.

"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. It was scary," said Stephen Buttrey.

It's a teachable moment Buttrey said he will never forget.

"I take a bite of the burger not thinking anything about it, and I'm like, 'Oh no, this is bad.'"

Buttrey took his class outside to eat lunch and he joined them — but when he took a bite of his burger — he says the food didn't go down well.

He began to choke, and the students began to panic.

All except one.

"Kids were just freaking out, and so kids were banging on the windows that we had the two windows, and so no one was doing really anything. So, I just took his lanyard not thinking anything, and just got into the building," Smith said.

Smith jumped into action, grabbing Mr. Buttrey's key card to enter the building to get help.

"We got them out here, and then they called the ambulance just to give him like a check and see if was still OK."

Smith said with her mother being a nurse she knew she needed to help.

And the fourth grader wouldn't hesitate to do it all over again.

The Dickson County Sheriff's Office awarded Smith with a certificate for her bravery.

Smith said she wants to be a school nurse when she gets older.