June 15, 2018 01:35 PM
An Isanti family is upset their 12-year-old son was left out of the school yearbook months after dying from suicide.
Family members say Kaiden Kauffman was a seventh-grader at Isanti Middle School when he died from suicide in September.
Now they say their grief has been made worse because because of a mistake on the part of the school district.
"He was a busy, busy boy," remembers Dawn Kauffman-Mace, Kaiden's grandmother.
Family members said mental illness led Kaiden to take his own life.
"It was nothing I ever thought would happen," Kauffman-Mace said. "I still can't believe he's gone."
Resources for Those in Need
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline - 1-800-273-8255
Veterans Crisis Line - 1-800-273-8255, Press 1
Last week, Dawn Kauffman-Mace was anxious to look at the school yearbook. But family members noticed something was missing.
"It would have just been nice to have the kids write something in it," Kauffman-Mace said. "I called my friend, and I said 'Hey Jamie, do you see a picture of Kaiden in the yearbook?'
"And she said no."
LEFT OUT OF THE YEARBOOK- An #Isanti family lost this boy to suicide this past year.— Brett Hoffland (@BrettHoffland) June 15, 2018
But now they're in shock, the school forgot to put his picture in the yearbook.
Their message to the principal, plus the district's apology at 10 @KSTP pic.twitter.com/d1AZxHsGsj
The family quickly contacted the principal and Cambridge-Isanti Schools, but they were left with more questions.
"He stated it was an oversight," Kauffman-Mace said. "I felt as if Kaiden's existence was erased and Kaiden mattered."
Cambridge-Isanti Schools apologized, saying it was a very unfortunate, unintended mistake. Officials said they are already working with the family to find a solution.
"You can't rectify it, because he died this year," Kauffman-Mace said.
Kaiden's grandmother argues the district hasn't been receptive to any kind of memorial, and she says it's too late to include his picture in any yearbook.
"To be able to have that as a treasure to hold on to - that would have been really nice," Kauffman-Mace said. "So I felt robbed."
The National Alliance on Mental Illness Minnesota cautioned against any kind of memorial at the school for fear of copycat behavior.
But the group does feel Kaiden's picture should have been in the yearbook.
Beyond a school picture, his family hopes this is a teaching moment for everyone.
"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.
Anyone who feels in need of help is asked to give the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline a call. The number is 800-273-TALK.
Updated: June 15, 2018 01:35 PM
Created: June 14, 2018 08:42 PM
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