Nonbinary teen in Oklahoma didn’t die of accidents sustained at school struggle, police say

A 16-year-old Oklahoma highschool scholar who died a day after an altercation in a college restroom that will have been prompted by bullying over gender id didn’t die because of accidents sustained within the struggle, police stated Wednesday.

Police within the suburban Tulsa group of Owasso are investigating the loss of life of 16-year-old Nex Benedict, whose household stated recognized as nonbinary and used they/them pronouns.

Though the reason for loss of life has not been decided, Owasso police stated in an announcement preliminary post-mortem outcomes point out the teenager didn’t die because of accidents sustained within the struggle.

“At the moment, any additional feedback on the reason for loss of life are presently pending till toxicology outcomes and different ancillary testing outcomes are acquired,” the assertion says.

Neither police nor college officers have stated what led to the struggle. However Benedict’s household says there had been harassment due to the teenager’s nonbinary id.

“Whereas at Owasso Excessive College, Nex was attacked and assaulted in a rest room by a bunch of different college students,” the household stated Wednesday in an announcement launched by their lawyer. “A day later, the Benedicts’ lovely youngster misplaced their life.”

Police Lt. Nick Boatman stated detectives are interviewing workers and college students on the college to be taught extra about what occurred.

Benedict was in a position to stroll out of the toilet after the Feb. 7 struggle however was taken to a hospital by their household and despatched dwelling that evening. The subsequent day, paramedics have been dispatched to the house for a medical emergency and took Benedict to a hospital emergency room, the place they later died, police stated.

Nex Benedict’s mom, Sue Benedict, instructed The Unbiased the teenager suffered bruises throughout their face and eyes after they and a transgender scholar received right into a struggle in a college restroom with three older ladies.

“I did not understand how dangerous it had gotten,” Sue Benedict instructed the outlet. 

Household ‘deeply unhappy’

Malia Pila, Nex Benedict’s sister, described her sibling as a “fantastic youngster that impacted all of us in methods which can be tough to actually articulate of their significance.”

“We’re deeply, deeply unhappy about their passing,” she wrote in a textual content message Wednesday to The Related Press.

Sue Benedict stated in an announcement on a GoFundMe web page set as much as assist cowl funeral bills that the household was nonetheless studying to make use of the teenager’s most popular title and pronouns.

“Please don’t decide us as Nex was judged, please don’t bully us for our ignorance on the topic,” she wrote. “Nex gave us that respect and we’re sorry in our grief that we missed them.”

Owasso police stated in an announcement on Tuesday that Nex Benedict died on Feb. 8, the day after the struggle at the highschool. Boatman stated investigators will ahead the outcomes of that probe to the native district lawyer to find out what, if any, prices ought to be filed.

When requested if the scholars concerned within the struggle may very well be charged with a hate crime, Boatman stated: “All crimes and prices shall be on the desk.”

‘Bullies have to be held accountable’: governor

College officers in Owasso, a suburb about 20 kilometres northeast of Tulsa, stated in an announcement a bodily altercation occurred in a restroom and that college students have been within the restroom for lower than two minutes earlier than the struggle was damaged up by different college students and a workers member.

Owasso Excessive College is seen on Tuesday. Neither police nor college officers have stated what led to the struggle. However the household of Benedict says there had been harassment as a result of the teenager was nonbinary. (Mike Simons/Tulsa World through AP)

After the struggle, every of the scholars “walked underneath their very own energy to the assistant principal’s workplace and the nurse’s workplace,” and faculty officers beneficial to the mum or dad of one of many college students concerned that they go to a medical facility for additional examination.

Police stated they weren’t notified of the struggle till the scholar arrived on the hospital, and {that a} report was taken at the moment.

Oklahoma’s Republican-led Legislature has handed a number of new legal guidelines focusing on transgender and nonbinary folks in recent times, together with payments that prohibit kids from receiving gender-affirming medical care and prohibiting using nonbinary gender markers on delivery certificates.

Gov. Kevin Stitt additionally has signed payments that prohibit transgender women and girls from taking part in on feminine sports activities groups and forestall transgender kids from utilizing college bogs that correspond to their gender id.

Stitt’s workplace launched an announcement Wednesday on behalf of the governor and his spouse, Sarah.

“Sarah and I are saddened to be taught of the loss of life of Nex Benedict, and our hearts exit to Nex’s household, classmates, and the Owasso group,” he stated. “The loss of life of any youngster in an Oklahoma college is a tragedy — and bullies have to be held accountable.”

ACLU decries discriminatory insurance policies 

Among the many many anti-trans payments being thought of this yr in Oklahoma are measures to ban gender-affirming take care of adults, prohibit college staff from utilizing a scholar’s most popular pronouns if they do not correspond with the intercourse assigned at delivery and prohibit state legal guidelines or govt orders that acknowledge any gender apart from female and male.

Oklahoma’s superintendent of public faculties, Ryan Walters, additionally has embraced anti-trans insurance policies and confronted bipartisan blowback after he appointed a right-wing social media influencer from New York recognized for posting anti-trans rhetoric to a state library panel.

One in every of Chaya Raichik’s posts on her Libs of TikTok account on the X platform, previously often called Twitter, final yr exhibiting an edited video crucial of a public college librarian in Tulsa led to a number of consecutive days of bomb threats to varsities within the district.

“Insurance policies that discriminate and hateful rhetoric spewed by state officers towards transgender youth make our faculties much less protected and deny youth like Nex the long run they deserve,” ACLU Oklahoma stated in an announcement.

In an announcement Wednesday, Walters stated he mourned the lack of the Owasso scholar and that he would “pray for God’s consolation for the household and the whole Owasso group.” 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *