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Non-binary teenager Nex Benedict dies after attack by fellow students

Olivia Barone

Arts & Entertainment Editor 

Nex Benedict arrived at Owasso High School on Feb. 7 expecting to fall into their normal routine. Attend class, eat lunch with their friends and return home to play their favorite video games: “Minecraft” and “Ark.” They ,as all students should, believed the halls of their school to be a safe space for them to learn and socialize. No child should feel robbed of their right to safety on school grounds, but Benedict’s trust in their teachers and peers waned as they were assaulted by three girls in the bathroom. On Feb. 8, Benedict was rushed to the hospital from which they never returned home. 

Benedict was a 16-year-old from Owasso, Oklahoma, akin to all other teenagers. Not only did they enjoy video games, but they also loved to draw and read. They had a special bond with their cat Zeus and spent time with their friends. Identifying as non-binary from a young age, Benedict used they/them pronouns rather than he or she. 

Photo by Uwe Aranas

At around 3:00 p.m. on Feb. 7, Benedict encountered three girls inside a school bathroom. It was reported that they repeatedly bullied Benedict throughout the year, leading to the afternoon’s confrontation. “[The girls] had been bullying me and my friends and I got tired of it so I poured some water on them and all 3 came after me,” Benedict texted to a family member after the attack. The fight was broken up by fellow students and a teacher standing outside the bathroom. 

The teen appeared in the nurse’s office covered in scrapes and bruises. Sue Benedict, Nex’s grandmother and guardian, reports that Benedict was pushed to the ground during the altercation, consequently hitting their head. Their eyes were bruised and the back of their head was violently scratched. It was said that Benedict’s head appeared to have been smashed against the tile floor repeatedly. 

Benedict was rushed to the hospital and discharged shortly after, only to be admitted the next day after collapsing in their home. On Feb. 8, Nex Benedict was reported dead. Owasso police say that the cause of death was not trauma from the incident, but as of Feb. 25, have yet to release the official autopsy report. 

News of Benedict’s death did not reach mainstream media until late Feb. 15, a week after the incident. The story is now widely circulating the internet, making headlines and providing fuel for political debates regarding gender identity. Benedict’s name has become another bullet in the feud for trans rights. Whether or not they deserved to be in the bathroom that day is being debated. The fact that another young life has been lost due to their identity has been forgotten.

To support Benedict and their family, those interested can donate to the GoFundMe made in Benedict’s name. Proceeds will fund the funeral and headstone with their chosen name. Leftover donations will be used to support other children looking to be safe while remaining themselves.

We at this time are thankful for the ongoing support and did not expect the love from everyone,” Sue Benedict says. So far, the GoFundMe has raised over one hundred thousand dollars for not only Benedict, but youth seeking support worldwide.


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