Lesson in hate for high schooler who criticized Black Lives Matter
A Philadelphia high school journalist who took on Black Lives Matter in a column for the school paper, only to be driven into home-schooling, says his torment didn't end when he withdrew.
It was just before Christmas break when 17-year-old University of Pennsylvania-bound Michael Moroz wrote an opinion piece for the Central High school paper, the Centralizer.
In it, he criticized the racially charged University of Missouri protests at the time and suggested that Michael Brown, the black teenager killed in 2014 by a white police officer in Ferguson, Mo., was "a delinquent" who was "at worst, justifiably killed, and at best, a thug."
"If someone who called for me to be shot gets a day suspension, then I imagine these students got a stern high five.”
When the column hit the paper’s Facebook page, threats poured in. Moroz said he was forced to stay home initially, and when he returned, threats and harassment prompted him to withdraw and finish his senior year on home study.
“When everything started to happen, I was surprised,” Moroz told FoxNews.com. “Whenever we posted an op-ed, we never got a reaction like I did with this one. In retrospect, I was naive to think that this would have been the same. Now, it’s more disappointing than anything.”
Moroz said the harassment has continued on social media since he has entered independent study and claims even his former teachers and staff at Central have taken part.
In a screengrab provided to FoxNews.com, a student appears to have tweeted to one of the teachers at Central a veiled threat against Moroz.
“Would you still penalize me if I decided to punch him in addition to using my words?” the tweet read.
The teacher tweeted back “yes,” but added "LOL," in a flippant dismissal of what Moroz perceived as a threat.
Moroz also provided another screen shot of a tweet in which the head of the Social Studies department accused Moroz of baiting other students into a fight rather than making a sound argument.
The original column ran alongside another piece supportive of the University of Missouri demonstrations, which were triggered by claims the school was slow to react to incidents that alienated African-American students there. The demonstrations drew national headlines and resulted in the resignation of the school president.
Both op-eds were eventually taken down, but Moroz’s was the first. His opinion piece was pulled from the Facebook page by student editors once the backlash began, and the counterpoint article supporting the movement was left alone.
“Neither the Centralizer nor its members necessarily agree with the content/message of the piece," read a noted posted by the Centralizer staff at the time. "However, the situation has escalated such that the writer and editors on the staff have received direct threats."
Officials for the Philadelphia school district told FoxNews.com that they have accommodated Moroz as much as possible since the beginning of the year and that appropriate action was taken regarding threats against him.
“The School District stands by the numerous supports and accommodations provided to Mr. Moroz by the Central High School principal and faculty,” Raven Hill, a spokesperson for the Philadelphia School District, told FoxNews.com in a written statement.
“His claims were investigated and the students who threatened him were disciplined according to the code of conduct. The school accommodated his requests for a police escort and independent study.”
Moroz said the sniping and threats he believes he has been subjected to on social media warrant action, too.
“If I made threats on Twitter against someone who wrote a pro-Black Lives Matter column, I wouldn’t be getting any leniency," Moroz said. “It’s been more than one person and the school isn’t doing anything about it.”