Monday, March 4, 2024

U.S. Department of Education Launches Investigation into Nex Benedict’s School District in Response to Formal Complaint from HRC

On Friday, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest LGBTQ+ civil rights advocacy organization, received notification from the U.S. Department of Education that an investigation has been opened in response to a formal complaint from HRC regarding the Owasso School District - where 16-year-old Nex Benedict (he/they), a 2STGNC (two spirit, transgender, or gender non-conforming) student of Choctaw heritage died one day after being attacked in a school bathroom.

In a release late Friday evening, Kelley Robinson, president of the Human Rights Campaign, issued the following statement:

“Nex’s family, community, and the broader 2SLGBTQI+ (two spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex+) community in Oklahoma are still awaiting answers following their tragic loss. We appreciate the Department of Education responding to our complaint and opening an investigation–we need them to act urgently so there can be justice for Nex, and so that all students at Owasso High School and every school in Oklahoma can be safe from bullying, harassment, and discrimination.”

On Saturday, Robinson joined CNN’s Victor Blackwell to discuss the development. Watch more:

HRC has also sent a second letter to the Department asking it to promptly begin an investigation into the Oklahoma State Department of Education, as well as the current State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Ryan Walters.