Just one day after Centennial High School senior Ryan Eichenauer spoke out against death threats he received after coming out, a second student is speaking out against anti-gay intimidation at the same Minnesota high school. As local Fox affiliate KMSP-TV reported on Feb. 5, 8th grade student Noah Ratgen also received hateful messages.
Like Eichenauer, Ratgen also took to Facebook to come out to his classmates. A week later he woke up to find his family’s driveway vandalized with hateful messages. He told Fox 9 News that the backlash was hurtful because he did get what the big deal was about who he was.
“It hurt – just like calling someone fat or ugly. There’s no reason to do it at all.”
In both situations God or religion were used as a reason for the backlash. Brad Ratgen, Noah’s father, was disgusted by the message written on their driveway.
On the driveway, written in very large letters: ‘God hates f--s. It was absolutely disgusting. I went and washed it off.”
The family did report the vandalism, which was later filed as a hate crime, to police, but no arrests were made. Now with the threats made to Eichenauer, the police are seriously investigating the aims of harassment and the school is also handling the matter seriously according Centennial Superintendent Brian Dietz who said, “we take every threat seriously and investigate fully.”
Noah Ratgen and his family said that they came public with the story so that Ryan Eichenauer didn’t feel alone in the abuse targeted towards them for being who they are. Brad stated that the anonymity of the backlash is evidence that whoever is behind it knows well of their wrongdoing.
“They know it’s wrong. They know it’s hate-filled. No one wants to be associated. That’s why they do it under the cover of darkness at night, why they leave a note on a desk at school.”
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