Feds Investigate Oklahoma School Where Nex Benedict Was Beaten

J Pat Carter/Getty
J Pat Carter/Getty

The federal government has opened an investigation into an Oklahoma school district where Nex Benedict, a 16-year-old non-binary student, was allegedly bullied before a bathroom altercation and their subsequent death.

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights announced the probe in a letter to the Human Rights Campaign, an advocacy group that complained about the Owasso School District’s failure to stop harassment and discrimination.

“Please note that opening the complaint for investigation in no way implies that OCR has made a determination on the merits of the complaint,” the agency wrote.

Nex, who used they/them pronouns, was injured last month during a confrontation with other students in the girls’ bathroom.

The teen’s grandmother, who had adopted her, brought them to a hospital—where they described pouring water on a student who was mocking them and then getting thrown to the floor.

“They got my legs out from under me and got me on the ground and started beating the shit out of me,” Nex later told officers.

A Dead Non-Binary Teen and a School Boss’ Cruel Transphobia

The following day, Nex suffered a medical emergency and died, according to a 911 call. The results of an autopsy have not been released, but police said the cause of death was not any injury suffered in the fight.

“Their death is a gut-wrenching tragedy that exposes the chilling reality of anti-transgender hatred spreading across the United States, and that the Department must investigate as part of Owasso High School’s failure to address harassment and discrimination on its campus beginning in the 2023 school year,” the Human Rights Campaign wrote in a letter to the U.S. Department of Education.

Nex’s family has hired an attorney conduct an independent investigation into how they were treated at school and their death. No charges have been brought in connection with the fight.

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