A 16-year-old non-binary student from Oklahoma has tragically died after being beaten in a school toilet.

On 7 February, Nex Benedict suffered severe head injuries after a “physical altercation” at Owasso High School. Nex told their mother that they, and another trans student, had allegedly been in a fight with three older girls, where they were knocked to the ground and hit their head on the floor.

Sue Benedict, Nex’s mother, told The Independent that Nex was badly beaten with bruises over their face and eyes, and scratches on the back of their head. The school did not phone an ambulance or call the police, and suspended Nex for two weeks.

The day after the incident (8 February), Nex collapsed at home. Sue called for an ambulance and EMT officers arrived to find Nex had stopped breathing. Later that evening, Nex died in the hospital.

The Owasso Police Department said in a statement that they are “conducting a very active and thorough investigation of the time and events that led up to the death of the student”.

Nick Boatman, Owasso PD spokesperson, told The Independent that “all charges will be on the table” once the results of the toxicology and autopsy reports confirm a cause of death.

Boatman also shared that police are interviewing staff and students at Owasso High School, before they submit the investigation for prosecution review at the Tulsa County District Attorney’s Office.

Nex had reportedly been bullied since the start of 2023, which came after Okalohama Governor Kevin Stitt signed SB 615 into law (25 May 2022). Under the harmful legislation, schools require students to use restrooms that reflect the gender on their birth certificates.

Their death has been described by various LGBTQIA+ advocacy groups as a “hate crime”. ACLU said the attack is “an inevitable result of the hateful rhetoric and discriminatory legislation targeting Oklahoma trans youth”.