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Fifth-grade student takes charge, seeks aid for fallen teacher

Westside Elementary School fifth grader Carter Jensen, first row middle, stayed calm and focused on taking care of his third grade charges while getting help for third grade teacher Lori Rosenow who suffered a medical emergency. Shown is the Jensen family, front row, from left: Sophia, a Westside third grader, Carter, and Cecelia, a Meyer Middle School sixth grader; back row, Leslie and Bryan. Carter is also on school safety patrol. (River Falls Journal photo by Jillian Dexheimer)

As a member of the school safety patrol, fifth grade students are trained to help those in need. Never was the need so real as on the afternoon of Thursday, Oct. 31.

While Westside Elementary fifth grader Carter Jensen was going about his typical routine of helping Lori Rosenow’s third grade class, he came across an emergency situation.

Carter, the son of River Falls’ police officer Bryan Jensen and ultrasound technician Leslie Jensen, said on a typical day he helps wipe off the board, put chairs up and guides students to their bus.

Last Thursday Carter said that when he arrived at Rosenow’s classroom to perform his safety patrol duties, the lights were off and the door shut. He said the third graders, who had been at Crystal Cave earlier in the day, were not in the classroom.

Carter, a student in Paula Flood’s fifth grade class, said he waited for the students to return before he entered the classroom. He said the third graders went into the room and turned on the lights.

At first Carter did not see Rosenow, but some third graders noticed their teacher lying behind the desk. They thought she was playing a Halloween trick on them.

Upon further inspection, the students realized this was not the case and that Rosenow needed immediate help.

Carter noticed that some of the 23-24 third grade students were scared and unsure what to do.

The 11-year-old said he told the third graders to calm down. Carter then asked Rosenow if she was OK. When she didn’t respond, he knew he needed to seek help.

When he went into the hall, Carter said he found another teacher and told her about the situation back in the classroom he had left.

He said the third graders were then taken out into the hallway. In fulfilling his safety patrol duties, Carter rounded up the bus-riding third graders and walked them to their buses.

Carter said that after getting the younger students onto the bus, he was scared and wanted to get home so he could tell somebody about what happened.

When Carter arrived home his dad, who was on duty when the 911 call came in, talked to him.

The Jensens said they’re very pleased by the actions of their middle child.

“I am proud he responded so quickly,” said Leslie. “He stayed calm and focused.”

While Leslie was not surprised at what her son did, Carter has been reluctant to talk about it.

His mom and dad said Carter’s reaction has been: “I just did what anyone else would have done.”

“He doesn’t think he did anything special,” said Bryan.

Leslie said that Bryan had a similar situation happen when he was 18. She said, “This will stick with him (Carter). These are the things that shape you.”

On Monday, Benson said that Westside staff and parents of Rosenow’s students have been updated.

According to an email sent to her students’ parents, Rosenow, who has been employed at Westside her entire career, has been released from the hospital.

See the Nov. 7 edition of the Journal for the complete story

Jillian Dexheimer
Jillian Dexheimer has been a copy editor and reporter for the River Falls Journal since 2011. She previously worked for the River Falls Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Bureau. Dexheimer holds a sociology degree from UW-River Falls.
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