Reporting Jamie Yuccas
MENAHGA, Minn. (WCCO) – High school yearbooks are lined with memories both good and bad, but in Northern Minnesota, one high school wants to keep a few things from its pages.
A controversy is brewing at Menahga High School over the issues of teen pregnancy and suicide.
Kyle Kenyon would have been a senior this year, but committed suicide last January.
“The only way I can hold it together is with all the support we have,” said Peggy Havnes, Kenyon’s mother.
Around 100 classmates have signed a petition to get a memorial page in their yearbook, something Havnes would also like to see.
“I do think we need to use it as a teaching tool, because if we can prevent any other family from going through this, then we’ve accomplished something,” she said.
Trying to accomplish school can also be tough if you’re a new mother, but Stephanie Myers says her daughter is helping her reach her graduation goals.
“She’s making me push myself more to get better grades and make a better life for both of us,” Myers said.
She wanted to take her senior photo with her child, but the school nixed the idea. The school superintendent told WCCO she wants to keep the conversation going within the school, not on the internet or through the media.
“The conversation was interrupted,” Menahga superintendent Mary Klamm said. “We didn’t have an opportunity as a staff to say, ‘How do we handle this? What do we do?’”
The school had started a conversation with mental health experts over Kyle’s death.
“It was recommended that we don’t do a memory page,” Klamm said.
As for Myers and her daughter, Aubree, the superintendent showed WCCO previous yearbooks where senior photos were taken alone.
However, in both cases the book is not considered closed. The school will look to see if creating different sections in the yearbook are a possibility.
“We’re looking at different options,” Klamm said. “With modern technology it doesn’t have to happen tomorrow or within the next week.”
The superintendent said they have never had a policy in place for either situation at Menahga schools. They’ll work on getting one in place so this situation doesn’t happen again.