South Elgin boy, 12, awake after alleged beating

Monday, February 06, 2017 11:00PM
A hallway scuffle left Henry Sembdner so badly hurt he couldn't breathe on his own, but an online update from his family Monday said he was awake, eating and talking.


SOUTH ELGIN, Ill. - A hallway scuffle left Henry Sembdner so badly hurt he couldn't breathe on his own, but an online update from his family Monday said he was awake, eating and talking.

"The student was bumped or somehow bumped into the other student. That student then became aggressive in a very short couple of seconds," said John Heiderscheidt, director of safety and culture, District U-46.

During the first day back at school since Friday's chaotic hallway assault, students at Kenyon Woods wore green in henry's honor. It's the color of hope.

"Students were making cards throughout the day, and a banner that will be brought to Henry in the hospital," said Mary Ann Fergus, director of communications, District U-46.

A fast-moving online fundraiser campaign has raised tens of thousands of dollars for the hospital stay Henry's family never anticipated. Now he's healing. His mother posted an update that said, "He is still resisting but we are having conversations and he's eating. He's asking to read all the cards he has received and is very thankful for them!"

"I'm sure it shows him there are people that care. I think it's amazing to see how many people can come together for just one person," said Eric Loera, student board member.

Saturday night strangers in South Elgin gathered for the same reason. At Monday night's school board meeting, one members poke up.

"Not only do we support Henry, we also support the student who allegedly caused this. We support him through counseling," the member said.

School officials won't identify the alleged attacker, but the assault is part of police and school investigations.

"That investigation involves interviewing any students and getting to the bottom of everything we can," Heiderscheidt said.

What caused the sudden beating, school officials still don't know, but now Henry is awake to feel the community love coming his way.

School officials said there appears to be no history of bullying between Henry and the male student who allegedly attacked him. Officials also won't say whether or not he was in school today, but did say the South Elgin police were called Friday. Tuesday students will wear Cubs gear to show support for Henry as he continues to heal. Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo tweeted out a message of support to Henry Monday night as well.

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