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The US Education Department is launching an investigation into the Oklahoma school district where a 16-year-old nonbinary student was beaten by bullies in a bathroom one day before dying.

The probe was opened Friday following multiple complaints filed by the Human Rights Campaign alleging that Owasso Public Schools had “failed to respond appropriately to sex-based harassment that may have contributed to the tragic death of Nex Benedict.”

Nex, who used he/them pronouns, died Feb. 8, the day after getting into a fight with a group of girls who allegedly smashed the teen’s head into the floor until they blacked out.

In a video taken after the fight, the sophomore told a school resource officer that the girls had been “antagonizing” them and their friends in the days before over the way they dressed — bullying that the school allegedly knew about but did not address.

The US Department of Education is launching a probe into the Oklahoma school district where Nex Benedict was involved in a fight a day before their sudden death. AP
The probe was opened Friday following multiple complaints filed by the Human Rights Campaign alleging that Owasso Public Schools had “failed to respond appropriately to sex-based harassment that may have contributed to the tragic death of Nex Benedict.” SARAH PHIPPS/THE OKLAHOMAN / USA TODAY NETWORK

“Their death is a gut-wrenching tragedy that exposes the chilling reality of anti-transgender hatred spreading across the United States, and that the Department must investigate as part of Owasso High School’s failure to address harassment and discrimination on its campus beginning in the 2023 school year,” HRC President Kelley Robinson wrote in a plea last week.

“Schools have an obligation to provide equal educational opportunities, including safe and affirming learning environments for the well-being of all students. We are deeply concerned about the failure of Owasso High School to address documented instances of bullying, violence, and harassment against Nex.”

The federal DOE notified the HRC Friday that it would be opening an investigation into the complaint, and would be namely probing whether the school district “failed to appropriately respond to alleged harassment of students” within the requirements of Title IX and the Americans with Disabilities Act

Owasso Public Schools confirmed to The Post that they recieved a notice for the investigation Friday.

“The district is committed to cooperating with federal officials and believes the complaint submitted by HRC is not supported by the facts and is without merit,” the district said in a statement.

Although an official autopsy report has not been released, officials said preliminary results indicate Nex did not die from trauma, but have not yet ruled out whether the bathroom brawl may have contributed to their death.

From their hospital bed the day before their death, Nex recounted to an officer the events leading up to the brawl, stating they had squirted water on the group of girls because they were fed up with the bullying.

Friends and family of the teenager have since said the relentless tormenting Nex faced because of their gender identity was an open secret at the school that administrators and faculty allegedly turned a blind eye to.

Dozens of students and teachers walked out of Owasso High School last week to protest the bullying of Nex and the school’s lack of response when it comes to the mistreatment of students.

Friends and family of the teenager have since said the relentless tormenting Nex faced because of their gender identity was an open secret at the school that administrators and faculty allegedly turned a blind eye to. Courtesy Benedict Family
Dozens of students and teachers walked out of Owasso High School last week to protest the bullying of Nex and the school’s lack of response when it comes to the mistreatment of students. FOX 23
A “Justice 4 Nex” sign is held up outside during a walkout in by Owasso students to honor Nex Benedict. FOX 23

Nex’s family has opened their own investigation into the teen’s death, stating they are seeking “to hold those responsible to account and to ensure it never happens again.”

The family said some facts about the case have not been released and were “troubling at least” – and called on “school, local, state and national officials to join forces to determine why this happened.”

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