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.
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.
"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.