Grief counselors at school where 2nd-grader choked to death

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX -- Grief counselors will be on hand at Paseo Hills Elementary School Monday to work with students in the wake of a second-grader's death during lunch.

Javier Lopez choked while eating lunch in the school cafeteria Friday. It is not clear what he was eating at the time, but school officials said the 7-year-old ordered the regular meal, which included corn dogs.

Although a teacher performed the Heimlich maneuver and the school's nurse assisted with CPR, Javier was pronounced dead shortly after he arrived at a local hospital. It was less than an hour between the time Javier became unresponsive and when the school was informed of his death.

The Maricopa County Medical Examiner's Office will determine his exact cause of death.

"We are waiting on the investigation to find out exactly what happened," Trevor Ettenborough, the Paseo Hills principal, said Monday morning before classes. "It is our first priority for our students are supervised and safe at all times."

Ettenborough said a crisis team will be available all week to help students, teachers, staff and parents.

"It's a tragedy," one Paseo Hills mother told 3TV's Jill Galus. "My heart aches for the parents."

Paseo Hills was the first K-8 school to open in the Deer Valley Unified School District. It serves about 1,000 students.

Original story: Student at Phoenix school dies after apparently choking at lunchtime