A grandmother in Minnesota is upset with a local middle school after her grandson, who committed suicide, was left out of this year’s yearbook, she said.
Kaiden Kauffman committed suicide in September, Dawn Kauffman-Mace, Kaiden’s grandmother, told ABC 5. Prior to his death, the 12-year-old was in seventh grade at Isanti Middle.
“It was nothing I ever thought would happen. I still can’t believe he’s gone,” Kauffman-Mace told the news station, adding that her grandson struggled with mental health issues.
LEFT OUT OF THE YEARBOOK- An #Isanti family lost this boy to suicide this past year.
But now they're in shock, the school forgot to put his picture in the yearbook.
— Brett Hoffland (@BrettHoffland) June 15, 2018
But now, the family’s pain has been made worse by what the middle school has called an “oversight,” Kauffman-Mace said, according to ABC-5.
“We feel badly and sympathize with the family and the grief they are going through. We wished it didn’t happen,” Shawna Carpentier, a spokeswoman for Cambridge-Isanti Schools, said in a statement to the Star Tribune.
But despite the apology, Kauffman-Mace is still hurt.
“I felt as if Kaiden’s existence was erased, and Kaiden mattered,” she said.
— Star Tribune (@StarTribune) June 15, 2018
“It would have just been nice to have the kids write something in it, she said, adding that the yearbook would have been a “treasure to hold onto,” and that she “felt robbed.”
ABC-5 reported that the school is attempting to “rectify” the mistake with Kaiden’s family, but details of what that will entail are not clear, as Kauffman-Mace said it’s too late to include her grandson’s picture and the school has not agreed to a memorial for the 12-year-old, such a tree or a bench, according to the Star Tribune.
If anything, Kauffman-Mace hopes that the situation will “create conversations” about suicide.
“What I’m hoping for is that it creates conversations, and if it creates conversations, then maybe it might help stop a suicide,” Kauffman-Mace said.