Police investigate death threat directed at gay student


Police are investigating a death threat in a letter written to a gay Minnesota high school student, FOX 9 reports.

Senior Ryan Eichenauer of Centennial High School in Circle Pines, Minnesota, came out to friends and family in a videotaped message he posted on Facebook just before the new year began, FOX reports.

"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.

He said the video brought relief.

"I know there are going to be people in life who don't agree with it. But that's who I am," he said.

But the video also brought two hateful anonymous letters, left for Eichenauer at his desk in two classrooms. He took the second later, found Tuesday, to the authorities, and now district officials and Blaine police are investigating.

The letter is filled with profanity, hurtful comments and threats, and the writer urges him to commit suicide. From the letter: "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."

You can see the letter posted to the image-sharing site imgur here. (Warning: It is unedited and contains strong language.)

The letter has Eichenauer "a little scared," he told FOX.

"The first threat I cried a lot. A lot of tears and emotions. Even though that was less threatening. Then this one came along. Is this what I am going to get forever, from now on?" Eichenauer said.

Eichenauer is among many gay students who say they have faced bullying and threats. Two years ago, a gay Edina High School graduate made a documentary called "Minnesota Nice," in which he interviews students from around the state, many of whom had been bullied.

The Anoka-Hennepin School District, like many others in the state, has dealt with a spate of cyberbullying, in some cases directed at gay students.

The 2010 suicide of a gay freshman at Anoka High School who had been bullied drew national media attention. It sparked a lawsuit and introspection among district officials, who ultimately voted to get rid of a district policy that required teachers to be "neutral" on homosexuality.

Early last year, students and teachers said things were improving for gay students in the district.

Meanwhile, Minnesota lawmakers are planning to reconsider the state's 37-word anti-bullying law, which many activists say is among the weakest in the nation. The legislative session begins later this month. The group Outfront Minnesota is among those prodding lawmakers to strengthen the law.

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