Saskatchewan

Inquest hears boy, 13, was bullied, faced racism at Balgonie school before taking own life

A coroner's inquest into a 13-year-old boy's 2018 death by suicide at his family's farm east of Balgonie, Sask., is set to begin Monday morning.

Kaleab Schmidt died on his family farm near Balgonie, Sask., in April 2018

Kaleab Schmidt was found unresponsive on his family farm on April 30, 2018. (Submitted by Belan Tsegaye)

Sandra Barker-Schmidt fought back tears as she remembered her son Kaleab, who she described as a gifted student and athlete, at the public inquest into his 2018 death.

Kaleab Dean Schmidt, 13, and two of his sisters from Ethiopia were adopted by Barker-Schmidt six years before his death.

The inquest heard Schmidt became the victim of racism and bullying when he began attending Greenall High School in Balgonie.

Before he died, Schmidt had been involved in multiple fights and had threatened to commit suicide.

The purpose of an inquest is to establish who died, when and where that person died and the medical cause and manner of death. A jury can make recommendations to prevent similar deaths, but are not required to do so.

Kaleab Schmidt was found unresponsive on his family farm east of Balgonie, Sask., on April 30, 2018. EMS were called and CPR was performed, but Schmidt was pronounced dead on-scene.

After his death, friends and family said Schmidt was the victim of bullying and racism.

Twenty-seven witnesses are expected to testify.

Belan Tsegaye, who said Schmidt was her best friend, released an anti-bullying tribute to him on YouTube.

Coroner Alma Wiebe will preside at the inquest.

 

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