Oklahoma Students Walk Out To Protest Death Of Nex Benedict | EUROtoday

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Dozens of scholars at Owasso High School in Oklahoma walked out on Monday within the wake of the loss of life of Nex Benedict, a 16-year-old who died on Feb. 8, in the future after being overwhelmed in a college restroom. The college students mentioned they had been protesting a tradition of bullying and an absence of response by college officers.

Police launched footage final week exhibiting an interview with Benedict, who describes how three women “jumped” them after they threw water at them. When the officer requested Nex why that they had been getting bullied, Benedict mentioned it was “because of the way that we dress.”

At a vigil for the sophomore this weekend, a number of of Benedict’s associates instructed NBC News' Joe Yurcaba that Benedict was transgender. They mentioned that Benedict used he/him pronouns in school but additionally used they/them pronouns.

LGBTQ+ and different college students on the walkout on Monday instructed NBC News that they really feel as if the college doesn’t adequately reply to bullying. Even when college students report bullying, they mentioned, nothing appears to alter.

“There’s been bullying issues. This time, the bullying has gone so far that a student passed,” a scholar organizer named Kane instructed NBC News. “To me, it doesn’t matter if Nex passed from a traumatic brain injury or if they passed from suicide. What matters is the fact that they died after getting bullied, and that is the story for so many other students. I’ve been close to ending it myself because of bullying. It’s not new for so many students.”

The Owasso Police Department launched a preliminary assertion on Facebook final week, noting that after an post-mortem was carried out, the medical expert’s workplace decided that Benedict “did not die as a result of trauma. The cause of Benedict’s death is still pending until the toxicology exam and official autopsy repeat are released, which will inform police whether to arrest or charge individuals involved.”

Benedict’s household has questioned this conclusion and instructed The Independent that they’re conducting a separate investigation into the reason for their youngster’s loss of life.

Alumni of Owasso High School say the college has had an issue with bullying, significantly of LGBTQ+ college students, for greater than a decade.

Remy, a 26-year-old pharmacy technician who makes use of they/them and he/him pronouns, mentioned their time at Owasso High was the worst 4 years of their life. Remy, who now lives in Colorado, graduated in 2016 and mentioned they skilled bullying from college students and academics due to the way in which they seemed and dressed.

Remy mentioned a instructor as soon as joked in entrance of the entire class that they had been going to be “tied up like a pioneer woman and thrown in the back of the wagon.”

They mentioned they introduced up the occasion with the principal and nothing occurred.

Brock Crawford, a spokesperson for Owasso Public Schools, launched an announcement to HuffPost when requested concerning the tradition of bullying as described by present and former college students.

“As a district, the safety and security of our students is our top priority and we are committed to fostering a safe and inclusive environment for everyone. Bullying in any form is unacceptable. We take reports of bullying very seriously and have policies and procedures to address such behavior,” the assertion says.

The college encourages individuals who witness or expertise bullying to report it to a mother or father, instructor or college administrator, or to submit it anonymously on the district’s Bullying Prevention web site.

Though Remy was not out as trans in highschool, they mentioned associates who did come out had been afraid of what would possibly occur to them and had been taunted and mocked by fellow classmates.

“I felt like I was mostly just living in fear because I didn’t really quite know what I identified as or who I was,” Remy remembered. “I felt like I couldn’t even tap into what I was feeling because I was so scared about what could happen to me.”

Last week, a video circulated of a current transgender graduate of Owasso talking about their experiences being bullied and assaulted by college students and academics.

“The administration has never cared about its LGBTQ+ students,” the 19-year-old mentioned within the video. “The murder of Nex is the direct product of their design.”

Benedict’s loss of life has set off waves of grief and worry throughout the nation, Many communities held vigils to mourn Benedict’s loss of life and protest the bullying and harassment that LGBTQ+ college students face in faculties.

A candlelight vigil is held for Nex Benedict in Tulsa.
A candlelight vigil is held for Nex Benedict in Tulsa.

J Pat Carter by way of Getty Images

Last week, the Human Rights Campaign requested the Department of Justice and the Department of Education to analyze the reason for Benedict’s loss of life. There have been comparable calls from state officers.

“We believe that Nex’s death is the natural consequence of a growing wave of hatred against LGBTQ+ people,” learn the Human Right Campaign’s letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland.

“Their death is a gut-wrenching tragedy that exposes the chilling reality of anti-transgender hatred spreading across the United States, and must be investigated by the Department as a potential hate crime,” the letter mentioned.

Oklahoma’s hate crime statute doesn’t embrace sexuality, gender or gender identification as protected lessons, so crimes in opposition to LGBTQ+ individuals due to their identification are more durable to prosecute.

The Oklahoma Legislature is contemplating a slew of anti-LGBTQ measures, which might additional prohibit entry to gender-affirming care, drive academics to misgender and deadname college students, and proceed to restrict what little Oklahoma college students can find out about gender and sexuality within the classroom.

The Sooner State has lengthy been a testing floor for among the extra excessive anti-LGBTQ+ payments and insurance policies because the state aligns itself an increasing number of with conservative Christian crusades. Last week, a Republican state senator referred to as LGBTQ+ individuals “filth” after being requested a query concerning the Oklahoma’s anti-LGBTQ+ tradition and Benedict’s loss of life.

The Republican state superintendent, Ryan Walters, has a monitor document of focusing on LGBTQ+ academics and college students and final yr created a rule to dam trans college students from updating college information with their appropriate gender markers.

In January he appointed Chaya Raichikthe Los Angeles-based right-wing activist behind the inflammatory X account Libs of TikTookay, to the library media advisory committee on the state Department of Education. NBC recognized 33 situations when individuals or establishments that had been focused by the Libs of TikTookay later obtained bomb threats or different kinds of harassment.

Last week, in a gathering of the Oklahoma State Board of Education, Walters briefly acknowledged Benedict’s loss of life as “a heartbreaking tragedy.” He then moved on to discuss the struggle a native college district is placing up in opposition to his division to problem its authority to take away books they see as having sexual content material.

“We’re never going to back down to those pressures. We’re going to continue to make sure our kids are receiving a good education, and the type of materials that we’ve seen are incredibly graphic and pornographic and should not be in the hands of kids,” he mentioned.