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US government opens investigation after death of non-binary student

Photo: Nate Billings The Oklahoman via Associated Press Nex Benedict died on February 8 after an altercation in a bathroom at his school.

France Media Agency in Washington

March 3, 2024

  • United States

The US Department of Education has opened an investigation into the death of a 16-year-old student who identifies as non-binary, with LGBTQ+ rights organizations calling it a case of “harassment and discrimination” ignored by the school.

Nex Benedict, who died Feb. 8, a day after an altercation in the girls' restroom at his high school in Owasso, Oklahoma, used the gender-neutral pronoun “they” but also the masculine “he,” ~60 reported ~i>New York Times, citing friends of the student.

The causes of death are not yet known. But the NGO Human Rights Campaign (HRC) reported that Nex suffered “violent and repeated head trauma during the attack.”

In a video released last week by police and filmed at the hospital, Nex Benedict tells an officer that he threw water on three girls who insulted him because of his clothing. Nex Benedict and the three other students then fought.

Nex Benedict “died shortly after being brutally attacked in his high school in Oklahoma”, a conservative state in the south of the United States, the HRC association denounced on February 21, in a letter asking the Ministry of Education to launch investigations.

In response, he announced on Friday an “investigation” targeting local school authorities to determine whether they had “responded appropriately to accusations of gender-based harassment”.

HRC welcomed this announcement in a press release. Nex Benedict's loved ones and the Oklahoma LGBTQ+ community “are still waiting for answers following this tragic death,” said Kelley Robinson, president of the NGO, quoted in the press release.

She called on the department to “act urgently to ensure justice for Nex and to ensure that all students at Owasso High School and all schools across Oklahoma are safe from bullying, harassment and discrimination”.

“Nex’s death is the natural consequence of a growing wave of hatred against LGBTQ+ people,” particularly in conservative states, HRC said in its February letter.

Citing his family, the NGO claims that the student began to be bullied after Oklahoma adopted a law prohibiting transgender and non-binary people from accessing schools. toilet corresponding to the identity to which they refer.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116