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Non-binary teenager dies after brutal school assault

Non-binary teenager dies after brutal school assault

Image source: © WJKH
Weronika Paliczka,
20.02.2024 11:15

In a tragic incident at Owasso School, Oklahoma, non-binary student Nex Benedict was fatally assaulted by classmates.

Despite assertions by many teachers and school staff that violence within educational institutions is nonexistent, students hold a different perspective. Altercations, derogatory language, and other forms of aggression impact individuals who do not conform to the group norm. These incidents can revolve around appearance, attire, religion, sexual orientation and gender identity. Tragically, Nex Benedict fell victim to such violence.

Non-binary teenager beaten at school

Nex Benedict, a student at Owasso High School in Oklahoma, was in second grade. Nex identified as a non-binary individual, using ‘they/them’ pronouns. Unfortunately, Nex faced victimisation by a group of girls when they sought to use the school restroom. The frequent misgendering of Nex and using their pre-transition name were exceedingly hurtful experiences.

The school failed to call an ambulance

Following the assault on Nex, the school principal, Tiffani Cooper, made the decision not to summon an ambulance. Instead, Nex was transported to the hospital with the assistance of their grandmother. Initially, Nex’s injuries did not appear severe, but during a subsequent hospitalisation, Nex tragically passed away. Unofficially, the cause of death is believed to be brain injuries resulting from impact on the floor.

In an interview with 2Oklahoma News, a woman who identifies herself as a friend of the family recounted the harrowing incident: "Three older girls were beating the victim and her daughter in the girl’s bathroom. I know at one point, one of the girls was pretty much repeatedly beating her head across the floor… She couldn’t walk to the nurses’ station on her own, and the staff didn’t call the ambulance, which amazes me."

This brutal attack occurred on February 7, 2024, and Nex died the following day while in the hospital. Local authorities are actively investigating the incident. According to LGBT+ activists and campaigners, the assault on Nex was motivated by their gender orientation.

Nex Benedict was more than just a student

Nex's obituary has been made available online, stating that he loved to cook, adored nature and his cat Zeus, was a fan of The Walking Dead and enjoyed playing Minecraft.

Nex's friends described their death as follows: "Some memories of Nex from folks who have reached out in concern, horror, grief, in hopes that Nex will be remembered not only for a tragic death, but for pursuit of an authentic life: Nex loved rock music, and often bonded with others over rocking out to music. Nex was unfailingly kind and always searched for the best in people. Nex was Choctaw."

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Oklahoma authorities fuel resentment towards LGBT+ people

Ryan Walters, an Oklahoma politician responsible for overseeing the state’s education sector and serving as the secretary of public institutions, consistently expresses negative sentiments toward LGBT+ individuals. Walters has produced an advertisement "calling for girls to be allowed to be girls ". The politician supports the establishment of segregated restrooms in schools, with separate facilities for females and males. Furthermore, he characterises transgender and non-binary individuals as "dangerous."

In the video, Walters said: "We have injected a radical gender theory and are telling kids there might be other genders. It’s dangerous. It puts our girls in jeopardy." Numerous critics of the politician contend that his actions fuelled heightened animosity toward LGBT individuals, ultimately playing a role in the tragic demise of Nex Benedict.

Source: The Daily Dot, Freedom Oklahoma, PGH Lesbian Correspondents

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