Oklahoma community mourns

Owasso high schooler dies after relentless attacks from bullies.
Owasso Public Schools have come under fire following the death of a non-binary high school student. On Feb. 7, Nex Benedict was involved in an altercation with three other students in an Owasso Public School bathroom. Following some taunting language to Nex about the way they laugh and dress, Nex retaliated by splashing water at the three girls. A fight then broke out between the two groups and other students in the bathroom attempted to break up the fight and call staff into the bathroom to assist. Only two minutes after the altercation began, all four students walked out of the bathroom of their own volition to the Assistant Principal’s office and later the nurse’s office. At this point, the parents of the students involved were contacted and made aware of the situation.
The registered nurse at the school thoroughly checked all of the students involved and confirmed that no one needed immediate emergency services but did suggest that Nex should visit a clinic after school was over. Taking this advice into consideration, Nex’s mother Sue Benedict took Nex to Bailey Medical, where they were given a full check-up. After receiving a second opinion from the doctors at Bailey Medical, the family returned back home. On the following day, Sue Benedict contacted emergency services at their home for Nex, whose eyes were rolling back into their head and had general nausea. After being transported to St. Francis Hospital, Nex succumbed to their injuries and passed away.
While in the hospital, Nex was questioned by the Owasso Police Department about what had occurred in the high school bathroom. In body cam footage released by the police, Nex stated, “They came at me. They grabbed on my hair. I grabbed onto them. I threw one of them into a paper towel dispenser and then they got my legs out from under me and got me on the ground.” Nex was then knocked unconscious after the severe beating until the fight was broken up.
The local and national outcry of support has been enormous, with coverage by news stations and papers across the United States. Many are finding this story to be the last straw for targeted harassment and bullying of LGBTQ+ community members, especially students. At a candlelight vigil for Nex on Feb. 24, News on 6 interviewed attendees and the sentiment was quite clear — the administration forgot Nex, and it led to their death. These advocates are fighting so it never happens again, with one speaker saying, “Nex is still worth remembering and Nex still deserves justice.”
The Owasso Police Department has released preliminary details on the autopsy report of Nex Benedict, and they are stating that the cause of death was not trauma. The official autopsy will not be complete for several weeks.
This comes at a time when State Superintendent for Oklahoma Public Schools Ryan Walters continues to halt conversations and promotion of LGBTQ+ ideals in schools. When asked about Nex by The New York Times, Walters was quoted saying that the death was a tragedy but that it did not change his views on how questions of gender should be handled in schools. Sen. Tom Woods, as reported by Public Radio Tulsa, stated, “We are a religious state. We are going to fight to keep that filth out of the state of Oklahoma, because we’re a Christian state. We’re a rural state. We want to lower taxes, and for people to live and work, and to go to the faith they choose,” when asked about the death of Nex.

Post Author: Grant Doolin