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New York Times
24 Feb 2024
J. David Goodman

NextImg:In Video, Nonbinary Student Describes Fight in Oklahoma School Bathroom

An altercation at an Oklahoma public school involving a 16-year-old nonbinary student who died the next day began after the student “poured water” on girls who had been making fun of the teenager, according to a body camera video interview released by the Owasso Police Department late Friday.

The video of the 16-year-old student, Nex Benedict, talking to an Owasso officer provided the fullest account yet of what took place inside the girls’ bathroom on Feb. 7. The altercation drew national scrutiny after gay and transgender rights groups focused attention on Nex’s death as an example of the dangers faced by gender-nonconforming students.

The interview, which lasted about 20 minutes and took place at a local hospital, provided new details of the confrontation at the West Campus of Owasso High School. Nex, who used they and them pronouns with peers, described how they “blacked out” while being beaten on the floor of the bathroom by three girls who had previously mocked Nex and their friends “because of the way that we dress.”

“We were laughing. And they had said something like, ‘Why do they laugh like that?’ They were talking about us in front of us. And so I went up there and I poured water on them” from a plastic water bottle, Nex told the officer. “And then all three of them came at me,” Nex said.

The department also released surveillance video from inside the school showing students, including Nex, entering the bathroom and, separately, Nex walking through the halls with a staff member after the confrontation.

And the department provided audio of the 911 calls made by Sue Benedict, Nex’s grandmother and guardian, on the day of the altercation and then on Feb. 8 as she urgently sought an ambulance for Nex.

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