Board recognizes teacher heroes

The Dearborn Public Schools Board of Education on Monday night honored two McCollough/Unis teachers credited with saving a student’s life during a medical emergency in October.

“This is really a story of heroes in our community,” said Superintendent Glenn Maleyko.  “I’m very proud of everyone, of our entire community, first responders, family, and obviously our wonderful teachers and social workers.”

On Oct. 2, Unis Middle School football practice was cancelled due to the weather.  Student Mohammad Hannawi and other swim team members used the break to get in an off-season practice in the pool.  While swimming, Hannawi had a medical emergency due to an undiagnosed cardiac condition.

When teacher Emily Bartley saw that Mohammad was not surfacing from the water, she immediately jumped in the pool, pulled him to the pool deck, and began CPR.  The other students, recognizing the seriousness of the situation, ran to get additional assistance. Bartley was joined by fellow teacher Brian Courtright who assisted in providing first aid, including setting up the school’s automatic external defibrillator (AED). Within minutes Dearborn Fire Department paramedics arrived, continued CPR and activated the AED before transporting Hannawi to Children’s Hospital.  The first responders involved were also thanked and recognized during the meeting.

In the days and weeks that followed the incident, the outlook for the middle-schooler was not good. The McCollough/Unis staff, students, and community were filled with sadness as they continued to support the family and hope for Mohammad’s recovery.  A highly qualified team of social workers, led by Dr. Rola Bazzi-Gates, provided support to the staff and students at the school during this troubling time.  Principal Chadi Farhat, teachers at the school, and Dearborn Public Schools administrators continued to visit Mohammed and his family at the hospital to provide support.

Fortunately the tough 8th grade student recovered, was able to go home, and returned to school.  When Hannawi was released from the hospital, doctors met with his parents and school administrators. The doctors credited the quick actions of Bartley and Courtright for saving the boy’s life.

McCollough/Unis Principal Chadi Farhat said, “I would like to thank and recognize the efforts of all the individuals who saved Mohammad’s life and supported the McCollough/Unis community during this emotional time.  Without their efforts, the outcome could have been tragic, and the McCollough/Unis community could not have been able to successfully navigate through all of this.”   

In addition to recognizing the teachers, a resolution approved by the Board of Education also declared Oct. 2 AED Day in Dearborn Public Schools.  Every year on that day, school staff will be required to check that any AEDs and other first aid equipment are in working order.

On Saturday Dec. 14, Dearborn Public Schools is hosting a free student heart health screening for youth ages 13 to 18 years old.  The screenings, sponsored by Beaumont Health, could help discover heart issues not diagnosed in traditional school or sports physicals.  Pre-registration is required.  To learn more, visit www.beaumont.org/shc.  The event runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Fordson High School.