April 22, 2024 The Newspaper Serving LGBT Los Angeles

Non-Binary Student Dies After Allegedly Violent Bathroom Fight at Owasso High School in Oklahoma

High School Faces Questions After They Fail to Call First Responders or Report to Police

Nex Benedict, a non-binary 16-year-old student at Owasso High School in Owasso, Oklahoma, has died after a fight in the school’s bathroom. Local news coverage of the death refers only to the student’s “unexpected death,” yet the article reports testimony from a friend’s parent that details an allegedly savage beating by multiple students. The case was brought to light by Alejandra Caraballo or Esqueer on Twitter.

The article from KJRH.com quotes the mother of the victim’s friend, who states, “I think complications from brain trauma, head trauma, is what caused it.” The mother, who declined to be named for the article, added that three older girls were beating the victim and her daughter in the girl’s bathroom, and eventually, a teacher entered the bathroom and broke the fight up. 

The woman added, as quoted by KJRH, “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.” 

Not only did the staff at Owasso High fail to call an ambulance, but they also did not report the violence to the local police. It was only after the child was taken to the hospital that the police were informed about the beating. Nex Benedict was taken to the hospital on the day of the fight, February 7, by a grandparent, who was the child’s primary guardian. Released from the hospital that night, Benedict was taken back to the hospital the next day and died on February 8. 

No mention of an ongoing investigation is stated on the local police department’s website or social media, and the Owasso High School website and social media are silent on the subject as well. The only tangentially connected communication from the Owasso Public Schools was a letter sent to parents eight days later that “addresses school safety measures.” that have “been on the minds of many parents and students lately.” as reported by Fox News 23

The news report says that Tiffani Cooper, principal of Owasso High School, says, “The safety of students and staff is, and always will be, our top priority.” However, no mention of the death of a student was mentioned in the news report about the letter. Attempts by local news outlets to get comment were turned away by the school, which said there was an active police investigation, and the police, who said that they were “consumed with the investigation.” 

Nex Benedict was laid to rest on February 15, and the teenager’s deadname is used in local news reports and in the GoFundMe set up to pay burial costs.

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