By Andy Rose | CNN

A 16-year-old pupil died following a battle at an Oklahoma highschool – and as an investigation into the reason for demise continues, advocates level to a heightened and hostile climate towards the LGBTQ+ group.

Nex Benedict, whose household says recognized as nonbinary, died February 8, at some point after they advised their household they and a transgender pupil have been concerned in a battle with others at Owasso Excessive Faculty. Police in Owasso are investigating.

Sue Benedict, Nex’s guardian and organic grandmother, told The Independent Nex was badly overwhelmed through the battle with three older ladies in a toilet on the faculty and hit their head on the ground. Benedict stated Nex had skilled bullying on the faculty, however added, “I didn’t understand how dangerous it had gotten.”

“I stated, ‘You’ve acquired to be sturdy and look the opposite means, as a result of these individuals don’t know who you might be,’” Benedict advised The Impartial.

Owasso police confirmed in an announcement the scholar was “rushed again to a hospital” the day after the incident and pronounced useless.

The police division advised CNN their investigation is underway, and they’ll not launch extra info on the case till the health worker’s workplace has decided a reason for demise. CNN confirmed the health worker’s report is just not but full.

“It isn’t identified at the moment if this newest medical incident is expounded to the earlier incident or not,” Owasso police stated, referring to the altercation on the faculty. The division additionally stated, “No report of the battle was made to Owasso Police previous to the notification on the hospital.”

Nex was a tenth grader and used they/them pronouns, in line with their household. “Nex didn’t see themselves as male or feminine,” Benedict advised The Impartial. CNN has reached out to the household for remark.

Particulars emerge of alleged bullying

A member of the family shared textual content messages from Nex written shortly after the incident with CNN affiliate KOKI.

“I acquired jumped in school. 3 on 1, needed to go to the ER,” the message stated. The textual content alternate stated the women concerned within the battle “had been bullying me and my associates and I acquired uninterested in it so I poured some water on them and all 3 got here after me.”

Within the alternate, Nex stated that that they had bruises from the battle and had gotten ache treatment. Additionally they wrote, “If I’m nonetheless dizzy and nauseous within the morning I may need a concussion.”

From the textual content messages, it’s unclear what the alleged bullying was about.

Nex’s demise comes after advocates have strongly criticized Oklahoma officers for actions perceived as focusing on LGBTQ+ residents.

The state legislature handed a “rest room invoice” in 2022 requiring all preK-12 schools to require college students use the restroom and locker rooms of the intercourse designated on their start certificates. Final yr, Gov. Kevin Stitt issued an government order requiring authorities businesses to establish individuals in line with their intercourse at start moderately than their gender identification.

Owasso Public Faculties said Tuesday it can’t share all particulars in regards to the incident, however confirmed a “bodily altercation occurred in a restroom” that was damaged up by different college students and a employees member. The district stated no ambulance was known as, however “it was advisable to at least one dad or mum that their pupil go to a medical facility for additional examination.”

The college district stated, “As a result of federal privateness legal guidelines, we’re unable to reveal the precise nature of disciplinary motion taken towards any pupil.”

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Ryan Walters stated “all accessible sources” shall be supplied to the varsity district.

“The protection and safety of our college students is my prime precedence in addition to the primary duty of Oklahoma colleges,” Walters stated in an announcement issued Tuesday. “I mourn the lack of our pupil in Owasso and pray for God’s consolation for the household and the complete Owasso group.”

A “thorough, open investigation into the matter” has been demanded, in line with a joint assertion Tuesday from Lambda Authorized and the ACLU of Oklahoma.

A GoFundMe has been established on behalf of Nex and their household.

CNN’s Taylor Romine and Caroll Alvarado contributed to this report.


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