‪Justice for Nex Benedict. A Statement from the Center for Native American Youth.

February 21, 2024

A compassionate and vibrant 16 year old, Nex Benedict (Choctaw descent) was taken from the world in a violent act committed by their peers, in a place that should have been a safe space for all youth: their school. We, the Center for Native American Youth, demand action and justice for Nex with the expulsions and full criminal prosecution of their attackers and those complicit in the inaction that led to their death.

The lack of immediate action by school leadership shows a pervasive, country-wide ambivalence to the safety of our non-binary and LGBTQ2S+ youth. The increased violence and legislation occurring across the nation against the LGBTQ2S+ community, particularly our youth, is a systemic issue that impacts the lives and the wellbeing of future generations. 

To be clear, our LGBTQ2S+ youth deserve to grow and become elders. 

We demand the State of Oklahoma, Owasso School District, Owasso High School, and those complicit in this tragic event to be held accountable for the actions that led to the death of Nex Benedict.  

All LGBTQ2S+ and non-binary youth are entitled to attend and learn in a safe learning environment. They deserve to be treated with respect in a school that is free of violence and bullying. 

Join us in asking the difficult questions of our school districts across the country and demand that they stand against violence by: 

  • Committing to implementing a comprehensive anti-bullying education in the classroom
  • Setting actionable consequences for gender and orientation violence within schools.
  • Establishing a school safety plan and protocol when violence erupts in a school setting with strict adherence to these established plans and protocols.
  • Providing comprehensive staff and faculty development and established plans and protocols along with data monitoring to ensure effectiveness. 

Our communities must foster spaces where all young people have the opportunity to thrive as their authentic selves. Educators and school administrators have a responsibility to keep their students safe, and it is incumbent upon us to hold them accountable when they fail.

On behalf of the Center for Native American Youth, we extend our deepest sympathy and support to Nex’s family, friends, and loved ones as they make their journey through grief and healing. Visit the Nex Benedict GoFundMe page to support the family at this time.

Let us be unwaveringly kind, just as Nex was.