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911 calls, videos show cascade of failures in Nex Benedict's death, GLAAD responds
2024-02-24

This article shared 18795 times since Sat Feb 24, 2024
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"It is haunting to hear Nex Benedict, in their own words, describe how school and state leaders failed, at every level of leadership, to keep them safe from bullying and harm. Less than 24 hours later, Nex would collapse and die. The release of the chilling 9-1-1 call by Nex's mother, Sue Benedict, school surveillance video, and police body-cam footage of Nex in the emergency room recounting the brutal assault, all point to a clear and catastrophic cascade of failures from a school and state's basic responsibility of safety and care for all young people."

FROM A PRESS RELEASE

Owasso, Oklahoma, Saturday Feb. 24 — Sarah Kate Ellis, President & CEO of GLAAD, is responding to the release of 9-1-1 calls, school surveillance video and police body cam footage by Owasso police on Friday.

Newly released police body cam footage from inside the emergency room raises concerns about questionable police involvement:

The police officer discouraged Sue Benedict from asking him to file a police report and saying it would open up Nex to legal liability and that it would be a shame for any of the students to have to deal with a criminal situation for quote "something so minuscule."

-The police officer told Nex that they were "just as guilty as" their attackers. This followed Nex explaining that after repeated harassment and bullying from 3 students, they threw water on the students. Those 3 students then began to violently beat Nex, slamming their head on the floor until they lost consciousness.

-The police officer described the verbal bullying of Nex by classmates as "free speech."

-The police officer suggested multiple excuses for why the school did not follow protocol and alert law enforcement about the assault.

Newly released school surveillance footage show Owasso High School officials did not follow protocol:

-The police officer confirmed that protocol dictates that Nex's high school should have notified police about the assault and that the school "dropped the ball."

-The police officer then suggested multiple excuses for why the school broke protocol.

New 911 audio shows Nex's mother had to report the assault after the school did not, and details Nex's final moments:

-Nex's mother Sue Benedict called 9-1-1 twice. First on the day of the attack, from the emergency room, with Nex by her side in a hospital bed, to report an assault had taken place at school.

-Sue Benedict made the second 9-1-1 call the following day when Nex collapsed at home. Sue reported Nex's "eyes rolled back into their head," their "hands curled" and Nex was "struggling to breathe."

Newly released videos detail horrors of attack and reveal ongoing history of bullying and targeted harassment experienced by Nex:

-Nex's mother Sue Benedict explains Nex was pinned to the ground and beaten until they blacked out.

-School footage shows Nex unsteady on their feet after the brutal 3-on-1 beating. Note that the school did not call an ambulance or the police.

-Nex and their mother discuss the ongoing bullying and harassment Nex faced at school, naming specifically that Nex was targeted for the way they dressed.

-Nex explains that they were unable to see the point in bringing recent bullying to the school's attention given how much they had been bullied and harassed at school in the past year.

Additionally, Nex's mother, Sue Benedict, raised questions about the investigation and Popular Information tracked significant similarities in the Owasso Police Department and Owasso High School's statements:

-Sue Benedict, Nex's mother, said she considered the Owasso Police statement a "big cover" and believed it was only released as "something to calm the people."

-Popular Information's analysis: "There are several aspects of the Owasso Police statement that raise serious questions. The statement paints the school's response, which is part of the investigation, in a favorable light. But large sections of the Owasso Police's February 21 statement were copied verbatim from a statement released by Owasso Public Schools on February 20."

Popular Information published new reporting last night popular.info/p/nex-benedicts-mom-raises-doubts-aboutshowing significant concerns with the Owasso Police Department's handling of the case. [ popular.info/p/nex-benedicts-mom-raises-doubts-about ]

-Owasso's medical examiner did not explicitly tell the police Nex "did not die from something as a result of that fight," but a Police spokesperson interpreted the medical examiner's comments to mean that. The medical examiner's report remains unfinished.

-Sue Benedict, Nex's mother, told Popular Information she considered the Owasso Police statement a "big cover" and believed it was only released as "something to calm the people."

-The piece calls out the Police Department's statement as "paint(ing) the schools response, which is part of the investigation, in a favorable light. But large sections of the Owasso Police's February 21 statement were copied verbatim from a statement released by Owasso Public Schools on February 20."

-In an interview with Popular Information, the Police Department's spokesperson acknowledged that the statement "kind of came across as us being a voice piece for the school."

-The police spokesperson also acknowledged that it is not a normal practice of the Owasso Police to release "piecemeal" information regarding the cause of death before the medical examiner issues a report, yet the police did just that, to, in their words "head off some of this national scrutiny."

Statement by GLAAD President & CEO, Sarah Kate Ellis:

"It is haunting to hear Nex Benedict, in their own words, describe how school and state leaders failed, at every level of leadership, to keep them safe from bullying and harm. Less than 24 hours later, Nex would collapse and die. The release of the chilling 9-1-1 call by Nex's mother, Sue Benedict, school surveillance video, and police body-cam footage of Nex in the emergency room recounting the brutal assault, all point to a clear and catastrophic cascade of failures from a school and state's basic responsibility of safety and care for all young people.

Passing laws that ban students from bathrooms, refusing to act to prevent or stop bullying in all its forms, coupled with state leaders who perjure themselves by spreading lies and ostracizing LGBTQ students — this is a hostile, combustible environment that no student should ever have to endure in school. Every young person, their friends and their families, need to know this is not normal and this cannot be acceptable. In Oklahoma and other states passing discriminatory laws against LGBTQ youth, we must all decide that now is the time to speak up and stand up to demand safety and acceptance for all students to live, learn and grow in peace."

In the months and years leading to the bullying and assault on Nex Benedict, Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt has signed into law legislation that bans best-practice, life-saving medical care for transgender youth, bans trans youth from using the school bathroom aligned with their gender, and bans trans youth from playing sports at school with their friends.

Gov. Stitt's record of anti-LGBTQ legislation, policy and rhetoric is documented here: [ glaad.org/gap/kevin-stitt/ .]

Gov. Stitt appointed, then removed, Ryan Walters as his education secretary. Walters remains State Superintendent of Public Instruction, where he has repeatedly used his position to target LGBTQ youth, spread fear and disinformation about them, ban inclusive books, and use taxpayer funds to support his appearances on extremist media.

Gov. Stitt's actions include:

-Signed law restricting access to public-school bathrooms aligned with gender identity

-Signed law banning health care for transgender people under 18. Every major medical association and leading world health authority supports health care for transgender youth.

-Signed a law that bans transgender girls and women from school sports. Oklahoma public schools also now require all students from kindergarten to college to complete "biological sex affidavits" to be eligible, an invasive, unnecessary, and costly barrier to every female student.

-Signed a bill that would prohibit Oklahomans from obtaining nonbinary gender markers on official documents

OK State Superintendent of Public Instruction Ryan Walters' anti-LGBTQ record is documented here: [ glaad.org/gap/ryan-walters/ . ]

Superintendent Walters' record includes:

-Released inaccurate and inflammatory video falsely describing transgender students as a threat in school bathrooms. Transgender students are three times more likely to miss school than other students, are more likely to report feeling unsafe at school and being bullied, and face a higher risk of sexual assault in locker rooms and bathrooms that don't match gender identity

-Led the Oklahoma State Board of Education in approving a permanent rule change that prohibits school districts and local schools from altering sex or gender designations in student records without the board's authorization and regardless of the will of the student or the consent of the student's guardians. A lawsuit is pending in federal court.

-Advocates for book bans, including at this week's board hearing, falsely describing LGBTQ-inclusive books as "pornographic" and that they "push transgenderism," a term frequently weaponized to diminish or eliminate transgender identity and the existence of transgender people throughout history.

-Appointed Chaya Raichik, the founder of anti-LGBTQ social media account Libs of TikTok, to a Library Media Advisory Committee at the Oklahoma State Department of Education. The account posts disinformation about LGBTQ people and allies, and some posts have reportedly preceded dozens of bomb threats to schools in Oklahoma as well as libraries and children's hospitals nationwide. Raichick is not an educator, is not an Oklahoma resident, and does not have children in Oklahoma schools.

-Had Oklahoma taxpayers fund travel expenses for speaking engagements and media appearances with anti-LGBTQ groups Moms for Liberty and Heritage Foundation, as well as a premiere for an anti-abortion horror movie, meetings with bookers from Fox News in Washington, DC, and for media appearances on talk shows affiliated with the conspiracy-fueled Epoch Times. State law prohibits expensing out of state travel.

Additional background

ACLU is tracking 54 anti-LGBTQ bills in Oklahoma, leading the nation for proposals targeting LGBTQ people this legislative session

The FBI reported that from 2018 to 2022, the number of hate crimes in schools nearly doubled. Research from GLAAD and the Center on Extremism counted 700+ anti-LGBTQ incidents of extremism including violence, assaults, murders, or vandalism last year.

About GLAAD: GLAAD rewrites the script for LGBTQ acceptance. As a dynamic media force, GLAAD tackles tough issues to shape the narrative and provoke dialogue that leads to cultural change. GLAAD protects all that has been accomplished and creates a world where everyone can live the life they love. For more information, visit www.glaad.org or connect @GLAAD on social media.


This article shared 18795 times since Sat Feb 24, 2024
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