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School Nurses: Resource Officer's Response Time 'Made a Difference'

He administered oxygen to a young man who was struggling to breath.

Putnam County Sheriff Donald B. Smith is commending one of his deputies for helping to save the life of a Brewster High School (BHS) student.

According a report released by the Sheriff's Office Tuesday, the "life-threatening situation," as the nursing staff called it, occurred around 8:15 a.m. on Thursday. A male student was struggling to breath and the nurses called on school resource officer (SRO) Deputy A.J. Pizzuto Jr. for help.

"Pizzuto, a New York State certified first-responder trained in rendering emergency first aid, ran to his patrol car, grabbed his oxygen unit and returned to administer oxygen to the young man until arrival of the Brewster Fire Department ambulance," the release states. "The youngster was transported to Putnam Hospital Center for further care."

Brewster Central Schools are not in session this week because of winter recess. The release included a statement from the nursing staff.

“Once the oxygen was administered, the student’s condition improved," the document reads. "We must say, his [Pizzuto's] response time truly made a difference.”

During last year's school budget negotiations, officials contemplated cutting one of the district's two SROs, but inevitably, the Board of Education voted against the move. 

“The School Resource Officer program is invaluable to the school community it serves," Smith said in a statement. "Our school resource officers are highly trained police officers that are prepared for any emergency. I am extremely proud of Deputy Pizzuto’s immediate action in assisting the medical staff of BHS. The actions of Deputy Pizzuto and school nurses, Ms. Shirley Ciotola and Ms. Ellen Quinn, may have averted a tragedy whereby a young man’s life was spared."

Pizzuto is stated at BHS, while Deputy Steven Kanuk is posted atHenry H. Wells Middle School. Both Mahopac and Carmel schools also employ two SROs.

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