Trigger warning: discussing subjects of
warning: Adult content
Article by:
Matteo Angele
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February 21, 2024
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The Death of Nex Benedict Should Be a Call for Change

The tragic death of Nex Benedict, a 16-year-old non-binary teen, at Owasso High School in Oklahoma has sent shockwaves around the world. Nex, who identified as gender fluid, endured relentless bullying and discrimination at school. Beat up by three female schoolmates has led them to a fatal end on the school grounds and that must stop now.

The sequence of events leading to Nex's death shows a broader societal failure to protect vulnerable youth and principles of inclusivity and acceptance. Nex's story should serve as a reminder of the urgent need for comprehensive anti-bullying measures and robust support systems for LGBTQ+ students. Unfortunately, this story is not the first to end with a fatal death but we sincerely hope that it will be the last. That’s why we wanted to discuss the importance of a more inclusive and safer space for young people. How can we improve it? How, as a society, can we fight against hate crimes and discrimination?

Lots of LGBTQ+ students are victims of persistent harassment and abuse, fueled by toxic school environments and intolerance. They often face challenges within school systems, where policies often fail to safeguard the rights and dignity of transgender and non-binary individuals. The tragic altercation that Nex suffered from serves as a testament to the consequences of unchecked discrimination and hostility. Nex's mother, Sue Benedict, recalls the distressing ordeal her child endured, highlighting systemic failures and the devastating impact of neglectful responses to bullying incidents by the school department.

In the aftermath of Nex's passing, calls for accountability reverberate. Law enforcement agencies are investigating to uncover the circumstances surrounding their death, with potential charges pending the outcome of forensic analyses. The role of school authorities in addressing instances of bullying and ensuring the safety of all students comes under scrutiny, prompting demands for tangible reforms and heightened vigilance against hate crimes. This tragedy proves that we failed to provide LGBTQ+ young people security and the urgent need for measures to combat discrimination and promote a culture of inclusivity and respect within educational institutions. 

We see communities uniting in solidarity, asking to redouble efforts to combat bullying and intolerance in all its forms. We should take collective action and advocacy on behalf of LGBTQ+ youth everywhere. We must take into account this call and work harder to create safer, more inclusive environments where every individual can thrive free from fear and discrimination, especially in schools where young people should feel safe and welcome.

Creating a safer place for LGBTQ+ people is a collective responsibility. Teachers and the rest of the school community can create a safe environment for students. by working and gathering together often to discuss these topics so that they can improve their institutions to make LGBTQ+ student’s life easier. Let us reflect on our commitment to the younger generation. On how we celebrate diversity, on how we can make sure that every person is valued for who they are regardless of their gender and identity. We should stand up against hatred and intolerance, ensuring that no more lives are lost to violence and discrimination.

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