Chicago principal hospitalized after breaking up fight

Leah Hope Image
Wednesday, May 11, 2016
Principal injured while breaking up fight
Chinyere Okafor-Conley, principal at Jensen Elementary Scholastic Academy, was injured Monday while breaking up a fight.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- An elementary school principal was hospitalized Monday after she was injured while trying to break up a fight between students.

Chinyere Okafor-Conley, who is the principal at Jensen Elementary Scholastic Academy in Chicago's East Garfield Park neighborhood, sustained face and head injuries and remained hospitalized Tuesday at Mount Sinai Hospital.

Two juveniles were taken into custody, Chicago police said.

Okafor-Conley was hit in the face and knocked to the ground. She hit her head and was knocked unconscious.

"We're very concerned," said Beverly Jordan, the school's assistant principal. "The whole community is concerned about her well-being."

Jensen is a Level 1 school where students have had academic success.

Parents were told about the incident on Monday.

"I'm just hoping that she gets better, that's the main issue, and that these kids stop fighting," said parent Tressa Chapman.

"We need the parents to do their part at home, as well, to make sure that the teachers, like Ms. Conley, don't get hurt at school," said parent Marquisha Harris.

CPS said the principal would be entitled to "assault leave."

A former CPS teacher told ABC7 that she had taken assault leave after a different incident at another school and said there were many times she broke up fights.

"When you don't feel safe and then the violence keeps occurring in the schools, between students and students and students on staff, it's very frustrating and you can't do your job properly," said the teacher, who asked not to be identified.

At Jensen, crisis teams offered support to staff and students following the incident involving their well-liked and respected principal.

One young student had a simply message for her principal: "I hope you feel better."

Okafor-Conley's nephew is Jahlil Okafor, who was a Chicago high school basketball standout. She was by his side when he committed to playing at Duke University.