One of the greatest joys of being an educator is getting to watch children grow as they progress, giving you a glimpse of the people they are and the future they will usher in with them.

Our entire community is blessed to have curious, engaged, and determined students progressing through our schools year after year, and that is a testament to their parents and families as well as the culture we’ve fostered here in our corner of Arizona.

When I read the article titled, “FH Black Lives Matter protest postponed under threat of violence,” I was both prideful and appalled. I was excited because I saw what many of us in education strive for: A group of young people engaged in their community beyond themselves and taking an active stance while living their democracy. Regardless of how one feels about the BLM movement, I think we all can celebrate America’s Constitution and young people exercising their rights to free speech in a peaceful and constructive way.

I can’t even begin to describe how horrified I was to learn they received death threats and other threats of violence for simply working to organize a peaceful march. Grown adults in our community decided these young people deserved to fear for their lives and safety, all because they didn’t like the message of their protest. This is abhorrent and absolutely unacceptable.

We have a duty to our neighbors and to the principals in our Constitution, that we come together and reject this kind of gross intimidation and ensure anyone else reading this article or others like it know these individuals do not represent who we are and who we strive to be.

I love Fountain Hills, but silence in the face of these threats is a disservice to this great town.