Nex Benedict Died: All of the Information Regarding the Death of a 16-Year-Old Oklahoma Student.

On February 7, three female classmates of Nex Benedict, a 16-year-old sophomore at Oklahoma High School, beat her in the Owasso High School restroom. Nex, who identified as gender nonconforming, transgender, and Two-Spirit, was pronounced dead in the hospital on February 8.

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Nex Benedict Died:

The LGBTQ community, as well as Nex Benedict’s family, have expressed their sorrow and outrage at the murder of the non-binary Oklahoma teenager, who was beaten up by three older students in a school restroom.

According to the Owasso Police Department, Nex sustained severe head injuries on February 7 following a “physical altercation” in an Owasso High School restroom. In a battle with three older kids in the lavatory, Nex’s mother, Sue Benedict, told The Independent that they were severely battered and that one of them struck their head on the floor. The next day, Nex passed away at home and was subsequently declared dead in the hospital. As of right now, the precise cause of death is unknown.

According to district policy, Owasso Public Schools officials said they did not report the incident to the police or request medical attention.

The Owasso Police Department announced on Monday that they were questioning faculty, staff, and students at Owasso High School. Before filing charges, they were awaiting the medical examiner’s office to provide toxicology and autopsy findings. In a revised statement released by the police on Wednesday, February 21, they said that an autopsy had revealed Nex had not died from trauma.

According to Ms. Benedict, who spoke to The Independent, the tenth-graders who identified as them/had been harassed for more than a year by Owasso High School classmates because of their transgender identification.

The bullying started at the beginning of the 2023 school year because Republican state lawmakers had passed a rule mandating that students in public schools use the toilet designated for the sex shown on their birth certificates. LGBTQ advocacy organizations in Oklahoma have connected the killing of Nex to the escalation of hate speech and anti-trans laws enacted by the state legislature.

Freedom Oklahoma called Nex’s killing a “hate crime” and attributed it to far-right social media influencers and “hateful rhetoric spewed by leaders in our state.”

“Nex ought to be alive,” declared Freedom Oklahoma. The Owasso schools were unable to provide Nex with such an atmosphere. And we are aware that far too many children in our state live like that. According to Ms. Benedict, who spoke to The Independent, Nex was a brave and intelligent adolescent who had just started embracing who they were.

Knowledge Regarding the “Assault”:

According to Ms. Benedict, Nex had endured harassment and abuse at school for more than a year because of their gender-fluid identification. In a phone conversation, Ms. Benedict told The Independent, “I told you to be strong and look the other way because these people don’t know who you are.” “I had no idea it had gotten so bad.”

The west campus of Owasso High School saw a “physical altercation,” according to Owasso Public Schools. According to a press statement from the school, the fight lasted less than two minutes before being broken up by other students and a teacher.

According to the school district, it was decided that an ambulance service was not necessary. “One parent was advised to take their student to a medical facility for additional testing out of an abundance of caution.”

When Ms. Benedict arrived at the school, Nex had scrapes on the back of their skull and bruises all over their face and eyes, according to The Independent. Nex informed her that during the altercation, they were thrown to the ground, and their heads struck the ground.

The school gave Nex a two-week suspension, for which Ms. Benedict transported them to the Bailey Medical Center in Owasso. After receiving an MRI, Nex was released. As per Ms. Benedict, Nex had a headache when he went to bed that evening.

At home, Nex passed out the following day. Nex had ceased breathing by the time Owasso Fire Department personnel arrived, according to Ms. Benedict, who had phoned 911. After being brought to the St. Francis Pediatric Emergency Room, Nex passed away. On the eve of the altercation, Nex allegedly informed a relative that they had tipped water over three females who had been harassing them, according to texts obtained by an Oklahoman Fox station.

Nex texted that the three pupils had “jumped” them, causing them to feel “dizzy and nauseous.” If this persisted, Nex warned that they may have suffered a concussion.

Ms. Benedict told The Independent that although she recognized the communications were accurate, a young relative disseminated them without her consent. Detectives were questioning teachers and students, according to Owasso Police Department spokesman Nick Boatman, who also informed The Independent that the inquiry will be sent to the Tulsa County District Attorney’s Office for criminal evaluation.

Mr. Boatman stated that before deciding who would face charges, police were awaiting the Oklahoma Medical Examiner’s Office’s toxicology and autopsy findings. Ms. Benedict noted that she is still incensed with the school for not contacting the police or getting Nex medical help, and she wants the kids who are accused of assaulting Nex to face the consequences.

The Owasso Public Schools defended its choice to forgo calling for an ambulance or alerting the police in the face of intense public criticism, claiming that they had judged that emergency medical assistance was not necessary. According to the Owasso school system, additional counseling services are available to impacted students and staff.

Who was Nex Benedict?

On January 11, 2008, Nex was born in El Paso, Texas. Nex’s real grandmother, Ms. Benedict, nurtured them and her other five children since they were two months old. Nex was officially adopted by her a few years back. According to Ms. Benedict, Nex’s biological father had given up all rights to them when they were little and was currently incarcerated.

According to Ms. Benedict, who spoke with The Independent, Nex has identified as non-binary at a young age, and she and her husband, Walter, occasionally found it difficult to comprehend the subtleties of Nex’s gender fluidity. Ms. Benedict said, “Nex did not see themselves as male or female.” Nex perceived themselves as being in the center. Nex was educating me about it, so I was still learning about it.

Walter told The Independent, “You don’t always understand it when you’re old school.” But if we were all the same, it would get rather dull. What counts most is on the inside.

The family traced their ancestry to the Choctaw Nation and promoted candid conversations regarding gender and identity issues. Ms. Benedict stated, “I was very open with my children to be who and what they thought was best.”
They could discuss anything with me as long as we treat each other respectfully. You cannot force a youngster to discover who they are or what they want to be; they must do this on their own.

In an interview with The Independent, Nex’s sister Malia Pila—who identifies as LGBTQ—said that her family “didn’t worry about anything” about Nex’s gender fluidity.

Nex was an unmarried student. Ms. Benedict described the student as someone who loved reading, drawing, and playing the computer games Ark and Minecraft and was very attached to their cat, Zeus. “I was happy for Nex. They were so free and heading somewhere,” she said.

On February 15, Nex’s funeral occurred at the Mowery Funeral Service. Following the event, members of the local chapter of Bikers Against Child Abuse were escorted from the service to the graveyard by police officers from Owasso and the nearby city of Collinsville.

According to Ms. Benedict, Bikers Against Child Abuse members had attended Nex’s adoption service, and the two organizations were tight. More than $70,000 has been received through a GoFundMe page to assist with funeral expenses. According to Ms. Benedict, most funds will be donated to LGBTQ anti-bullying organizations.

“Nex had so many dreams and such a bright light inside them. I wish everyone to continue to be blessed by their brightness. It was a magnificent, ample, dazzling light, and I want everyone to remember Nex in that manner.

Lawmakers Statement:

On Tuesday, Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt expressed his condolences to Nex’s family, classmates, and the Owasso community. Any child’s death in an Oklahoman school is tragic, and bullies ought to be held responsible. Mr. Stitt spearheaded the state’s anti-LGBTQ legislative movement last year, approving an executive order that defined a person’s sex as their “biological sex” at birth.

The lone non-binary politician in Oklahoma, state representative Maureen Turner, observed a minute of silence on Monday in the capital building in honor of Nex. In an Instagram post, “This one hurt,” Representative Turner said. Transgender Oklahomans, they said, should have “less compromising of our identities because it’s just not comfortable for you.” and more unquestioning support for the community. It increased compassion and gentleness.

“I’m not sure I’ll have enough words to do Nex justice; my mind is still racing over everything.” My apologies,” they wrote.

“The most vulnerable will pay the tragic price if we continue to normalize cruelty in deeply intimate issues in hyper-local spaces,” said Senator John Fetterman, who tweeted a link to a story about Nex on X. Ryan Walters, the state’s public school administrator, has come under fire for allegedly inciting anti-trans prejudice among pupils. He released a “public service message” in June 2023 characterizing transgender children as a “threat” in educational settings.

Last month, Mr. Walters nominated anti-LGBTQ extremist Chaya Raichik, who manages the Libs of TikTok social media account, to a state library board. Ms. Raichik targets LGBTQ-friendly public school teachers and librarians with altered, anti-trans movies.

Mr. Walters expressed his condolences for “the loss of our student in Owasso and pray for God’s comfort for the family and the entire Owasso community” in a statement to The Oklahoman.

Indigenous Leaders Statement:

Being Native American is something that Nex’s family is very proud of. Sue Benedict, their mother, is an official member of the Oklahoma Choctaw Nation. The Independent was informed in a statement by Choctaw Nation Chief Gary Batton that Nex’s passing “weighs heavily on the hearts of the Choctaw people.”

According to Chief Batton, “a community and a family always find it difficult to accept the loss of a child.” “We hope and pray that Nex’s family and loved ones find solace.”

The media misrepresented Nex’s affiliation with the Cherokee Nation, and Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. issued a statement endorsing the Ossawa police with the backing of the tribal police. Chief Hoskin Jr. stated, “Nex was a child living within our reservation and deserved love, support, and to be kept safe.”

“I have requested that the Cherokee Nation Marshal Service extend its assistance to the Owasso Police Department in their investigation of Nex’s case, as we are partners with all law enforcement agencies throughout the reservation.”

Advocacy Groups Statement:

The Human Rights Campaign’s president, Kelley Robinson, called Nex’s passing a “gut-wrenching tragedy that exposes the chilling reality of anti-trans hatred.”

It sickens me to see how vicious some people can be. Justice is a must for Nex’s life. We are pushing the community to speak up and contact the DOJ. We’re going to fight for Nex and their family no matter what.

Lambda Legal, the ACLU of Oklahoma, and the American Civil Liberties Union expressed their “deep sadness” at Nex’s passing in a joint statement.

“The hate speech and discriminatory laws directed at Oklahoma’s trans youth have led to the inevitable attack on Nex.” Because we think all kids should have access to the secure and supportive environments they need to develop, and because rules that put transgender students at risk make schools less safe places for all students, we challenged Oklahoma’s statute, forcing schools to discriminate against students like Nex.

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