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Students leave Oklahoma high school where non-binary student was beaten and later died

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Owasso, Oklahoma –

More than a dozen students walked out of class Monday at an Oklahoma high school, where a 16-year-old nonbinary student was beaten in a bathroom earlier this month and died the next day.

2SLGBTQ+ students and advocates held signs reading “You are loved” and “Protect queer children” as they gathered at an intersection in front of Owasso High School.

Students are demanding action against discrimination and bullying of transgender and gender non-conforming students after the death of Nex Benedict, a 16-year-old student at the school who identified as non-binary and used gender non-conforming students. Benedict, who died the day after a fight with three girls in a high school bathroom, had been the target of bullying at school, his family said.

“Students and families are out in force today and must demand what really matters: freedom from harassment and violence,” 2SLGBTQ advocacy group GLAAD said in a statement. “It is appalling and shameful that Nex Benedict endured a year of anti-LGBTQ harassment and then a brutal beating in a school bathroom.

The state medical examiner’s office has not released the cause or manner of Benedict’s death, but a police spokesman said preliminary results show the death was not the result of injuries sustained during the fight. Police are investigating the teen’s death and will forward the findings of their investigation to the prosecutor’s office to determine what criminal charges, if any, could be filed.

Vigils for the teen were held across Oklahoma and across the country after news of Benedict’s death broke.

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