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School nurse, teacher and students honored for saving teacher having heart attack

The Smithtown school board honored a school nurse,

The Smithtown school board honored a school nurse, a teacher and students who helped save a Mount Pleasant Elementary School teacher who was having a heart attack. Credit: Erin Geismar, 2012

An elementary school nurse, an art teacher and students have been honored by the Smithtown Board of Education for coming to the aid of a stricken teacher in May.

At a school board meeting last week, nurse Julie Murphy and art teacher Kathy Martin received plaques for saving Stephen Jackowski when he suffered a heart attack while playing kickball with his fifth-grade class at Mount Pleasant Elementary School.

Jackowski’s students were awarded certificates for running to Murphy’s office to report what happened.

School board president Gladys Waldron said Jackowski did not return to work before the end of the school year, but she added, “Thank God, he’s on his way to recovery.”

When Jackowski collapsed, Murphy and Martin used cardiopulmonary resuscitation and an automated external defibrillator, or AED, to revive him until he was rushed to a hospital, said Pat Smith, coordinator of physical education, health, athletics and nurses.

“Julie used the AED on him and brought him back. Just amazing,” Smith said. “She was very calm and cool in an obviously very, very stressful situation.”

Smith said the students “knew what to do. They came in and got help” when their teacher fell ill. “They were a big help in this whole thing.”

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