Owasso High Students Mourn Nex Benedict with School Walkout

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Owasso High School has been enveloped in a wave of sorrow and activism following the tragic passing of Nex Benedict, a 16-year-old student whose life was cut short under distressing circumstances. Nex, a beacon of individuality with Indigenous roots, bravely navigated their non-binary identity in an environment that was not always kind. The incident on February 7, which led to Nex’s untimely demise, has ignited a fervent outcry against the bullying of LGBTQ+ students and sparked a significant student walkout. This action served not only as a tribute to Nex but also as a clarion call for a safer, more inclusive educational sphere.

In response to the walkout, the Benedict family attorney said in a statement to ABC News, “the Benedicts know all too well the devastating effects of bullying and school violence, and pray for meaningful change wherein bullying is taken seriously and no family has to deal with another preventable tragedy.”

The local community and beyond have rallied in support, with vigils spreading from Owasso to cities nationwide, demonstrating a united front against hate and discrimination, The Advocate reports. These gatherings have been a testament to Nex’s impact, with friends and allies vocalizing their support for the LGBTQ+ community and highlighting the urgent need for systemic change. The subsequent investigation by the Owasso Police Department, which has involved thorough scrutiny of school surveillance and a pending autopsy report, reflects the complexities surrounding the case and the community’s demand for justice and transparency.

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In the wake of this tragedy, Owasso Public Schools has pledged to enhance security measures and bolster support systems for students, signaling a commitment to fostering a safer environment. The involvement of high-profile figures, including the Cherokee Nation’s principal chief and the United States Secretary of Education, underscores the national resonance of Nex’s story and the imperative to protect and affirm LGBTQ+ youth in every community .

As the investigation continues, Nex’s legacy serves as a poignant reminder of the challenges faced by LGBTQ+ students and the collective responsibility to advocate for a world where every individual is free to be themselves, without fear. Nex’s life, though tragically brief, has become a catalyst for much-needed dialogue and action, inspiring hope for a more inclusive future.

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