If you’ve got a reputation for wild-eyed radicalism, one sure-fire way to bolster it is to send death threats to a high school student for challenging your opinions in the school newspaper.
That’s exactly what happened to Philadelphia high school senior Michael Moroz, who penned a column for Central High’s school paper, criticising recent race protests at the University of Misouri. Moroz also challenged the idea that the 2014 killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, which sparked the Black Lives Matter movement, was unjustified.
The article appeared alongside another piece, which argued that the protests at Mizzou were justified, and that the university failed to adequately address the concerns of black students.
Moroz had presented some controversial opinions in a controversial debate, so he no doubt expected to receive some heated opinions in return once the article was posted online. What the high schooler didn’t expect was a storm of vicious death threats.
“Someone shoot Morose” said one user on Twitter. “I’m sure black students at Central will handle their business with this kid” said a Facebook commenter. Moroz told FOX that at least five fellow students have threatened his life, and that his family has hired an attorney and filed a complaint with the local police department.
Others took to social media to demand the University of Pennsylvania, an Ivy League college, rescind the acceptance offer it recently gave Moroz.
In a comment to FOX, the Moroz family’s new attorney said “They are looking for the destruction of a 17-year-old boy simply because they didn’t agree with his opinion.”
“They are saying that what Michael wrote is something they don’t agree with and that it justifies their actions. This is something that is becoming more common in America, and that is frightening.”
Extraordinarily, Central High school has been more concerned with appeasing the crazies than protecting Moroz. The school has pulled his article from their newspaper’s online site, while leaving the response piece up.
“We do not want to suppress any one voice, but” said high school staff in a Facebook post. You can read the rest of their justification here.
According to Moroz, the school initially refused to help him deal with the students who were threatening him. “They took the onus from themselves and put it on me, saying that it was a police matter and that I had to call and inform them.”
This changed after Moroz went to the media. In an interview with lawyer and author Mike Cernovich, Moroz said “Now, after we went to about five media networks, they’re being very nice to us personally. It took that amount of pressure just to make them verbally nice…But the point is, at the beginning they did nothing.”
Moroz also told Cernovich that a fellow high school student who threatened to shoot him was only suspended for a day, and was not asked to apologise.
Even for high schoolers, it seems there’s no safe space for dissent.