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Four-Year-Old Boy Dies After Choking On Lunch


Update: Cause Of Death

The Dallas County medical examiner's office on Friday ruled the Mount Auburn Elementary School student's death accidental due to food asphyxia. The boy has been identified as Manny Ramirez.

Our Original Post: 

A four-year-old boy died Thursday morning after choking on his lunch at school.

The student, whose name has not been released, attended pre-kindergarten at Mount Auburn Elementary School. Dallas Independent School District spokesman Jon Dahlander said cafeteria workers noticed the boy was having trouble while he was eating and tried to help him.

"They tried the Heimlich and CPR,” he said. “They were able to get some food dislodged.”

Shortly after, however, the boy suffered a seizure. He died on the way from the school to the hospital.

Dahlander said it’s unclear what the boy choked on. Thursday’s menu included garlic-roasted chicken, steamed spinach, baked beans, sweet red peppers and mandarin oranges.

"This is the first such incident like this that I can recall, and I’ve been here 17 years,” Dahlander said.

Grief counselors met with school staff after classes were released and will remain at the school Friday and the following week, or as long as needed, he said. A letter was sent home to parents of the Mount Auburn students.

Stella M. Chávez is KERA’s immigration/demographics reporter/blogger. Her journalism roots run deep: She spent a decade and a half in newspapers – including seven years at The Dallas Morning News, where she covered education and won the Livingston Award for National Reporting, which is given annually to the best journalists across the country under age 35.