As police in Blaine, Minn., continue to investigate threats against Centennial High School student Ryan Eichenauer, people across the country are sharing their support for the teen who decided to start the New Year by declaring he is gay and done hiding it.
"I know there are going to be people in life who don't agree with it. But that's who I am," he said.
Eichenauer had no idea the hate that would soon follow after he posted this heartfelt, videotaped message to friends, family and classmates on Facebook just before the New Year.
"I don't like the term 'coming out' because I'm not coming out. I am letting the world in," he said in the video.
Since the Fox 9 story aired, support for Ryan Eichenauer has been spreading on Twitter, with the hashtag #IGotRyansBack
See the Fox 9 first report at http://bit.ly/1jfquJq
Within weeks, Eichenauer had found two threatening, anonymous letters placed on his desk in two separate classrooms.
"The first threat I cried a lot, even though that was less threatening," Eichenauer said. "Then this one came along. Is this what I am going to get forever, from now on?"
He found the second letter Tuesday morning during second-hour English. Not only does the note attack his sexuality, but it says "I can't wait for the day that I get to walk over your grave and if you don't put yourself there, I will be glad to. Just do us all a favor and do it soon. Kill yourself already."
Eichenauer said he feels safe in his school, but "mostly uncomfortable." In a letter to the Centennial community Wednesday, Centennial School District Superintendent Brian Dietz said "our goal is to be an accepting and respectable environment for all."
"Whoever is behind it, it's unacceptable," Centennial Principal Tom Breuning said. "The safety of all our students is paramount importance to us."
LETTER FROM CENTENNIAL SUPERINTENDENT
Centennial Parents and Staff,
I wanted to reach out to the Centennial community and give you an update on a situation that occurred yesterday at Centennial High School. A student received an anonymous, personal, threatening letter. The Blaine Police Department was notified immediately, and the District and law enforcement are investigating the situation.
Centennial takes any threat made to a student seriously and does not tolerate this behavior. Our goal is to be an accepting and respectable environment for all. Please know ensuring the safety of our students is our top priority.
If any student, parent or staff has questions, see your school counselor or administrator.
Superintendent of Schools