Oklahoma Authorities to Release School Video Footage Amid LGBTQ Teen Attack Claims

February 23, 2024 - Reading time: 2 minutes

Authorities in Oklahoma will soon release footage from inside Owasso High School West Campus, following claims by the family of an LGBTQ student that the teenager had been assaulted there one day prior to their untimely passing.

The video, which shows Nex Benedict before and after a February 7th fight, has been reviewed by investigators but no further details have yet been disclosed regarding its contents.

Preliminary information from an autopsy suggests that the cause of Nex's death on February 8 was not related to physical trauma. A toxicology exam is pending and the final official autopsy results are still awaited. The authorities have not revealed what prompted the fight, who initiated it or if any charges will be brought against anyone involved.

The police department has stated that an ongoing investigation into the incident is underway. In a separate statement, a lawyer representing Nex's family claimed that the teenager had been assaulted in the school bathroom by a group of students. The family has expressed their concerns about bullying and school violence and are calling for meaningful change to prevent such tragedies from happening again.

The school district has acknowledged the incident, stating that it understands the importance of ensuring a safe environment for all students. They have also emphasized that the fight lasted only two minutes and was quickly brought under control by other students and a school employee. The involved students left the area voluntarily and provided statements to administrators who then contacted their parents.

The students were given health assessments, with a nurse recommending Nex visit a medical facility for further examination. A school resource officer interviewed the student at the hospital where they were examined. Tragically, the following day, medical personnel were dispatched to a medical emergency involving Nex who was later pronounced dead.

Nex's death comes in the wake of Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt signing three bills into law last year targeting LGBTQ people. These laws include one that bars transgender students and staff from using school restrooms according to their gender identity, another prohibiting transition-related care for minors, and a third discriminating against religious entities. The restrictions on school bathroom use and gender-affirming care have faced legal challenges.

The American Civil Liberties Union has noted that Oklahoma considered 35 bills targeting LGBTQ people out of over 500 introduced nationwide last year, with state lawmakers introducing a record 54 such bills this year - the highest number in the US.

DW Staff

David Lintott is the Editor-in-Chief, leading our team of talented freelance journalists. He specializes in covering culture, sport, and society. Originally from the decaying seaside town of Eastbourne, he attributes his insightful world-weariness to his roots in this unique setting.