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The Trailblazer

The student news site of McNeil High School

The Trailblazer

The student news site of McNeil High School

The Trailblazer

Justice for Nex Benedict and LGBTQ+ Students

Photo Courtesy of the Obituary Page of Nex Benedict.
Photo Courtesy of the Obituary Page of Nex Benedict.

A 16-year-old non-binary student, Nex Benedict, was viciously attacked by classmates in their high school bathroom in Owasso, Oklahoma on Feb. 7 and tragically passed away the day after being released from the hospital.

It’s sickening to hear about the constant abuse and crimes against LGBTQ+ members across the globe and the students and children who have to take on this discrimination at such a young age. Every student should have the right to feel safe in their school and every school should do their utmost to protect every single one of their students no matter how they may identify.

On the date of the attack, the police did not receive a phone call from the school but only from the Benedict family after Nex had been admitted to hospital. This meant that the school’s staff neglected to contact the police or medical help after the fight took place even though it was a direct hate crime on the school’s campus.

The police investigating the case are looking into the causes of Nex’s death and are unsure if the fight was the cause or separate medical issues and are waiting for medical reports. Even if they did have some kind of medical issue that caused them to succumb to their injuries that doesn’t change where they got the injuries in the first place. The police and state are trying to cover up the crimes against Nex and rule it out as some underlying medical condition that caused their death.

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Oklahoma’s legislators have proposed more than fifty bills this year that target the LGBTQ+ community, which takes the lead against any other state. Most of the bills are against transgender and genderfluid individuals. Eighteen of those bills target the state’s public schools, which cause the neglection of safety for each student affected by them, leading tragedies like these to occur.

Crimes against gender identity or sexual orientation in Oklahoma law are not considered hate crimes. No matter the motive of Nex’s attackers, their charges, if any at all, will not be addressed as hate crimes against their gender identity.

Change needs to be made in the Oklahoma Public School System. Will the straight up murder of one of their students be enough? The news of Nex’s death has been going around on social media bringing rightful awareness to the devastation. People are demanding justice for Benedict and their family.

These are the things that make kids fear going to school. Life threatening situations for students while the schools turn their back and pay no attention or the laws that legally bind the schools from intervening. How many people have to be harmed before laws are enforced to protect their students.

Benedict was said to be a straight-A student who loved reading, drawing, video games and their cat, Zeus. They had a bright long life ahead of them that was cut short due to the insensitive people who have such a hateful mindset. Nex was murdered for simply being who they are.

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About the Contributor
Scout Bradley, Reporter
Hi! This is my first year being a reporter on the Trailblazer staff. I run on the McNeil cross country and track team. I enjoy listening to music, running and spending time with my friends. I am excited for the upcoming school year.
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