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Family Seeks Answers After Nonbinary Teen in Oklahoma Dies After School Altercation

February 26, 2024

Family Seeks Answers After Nonbinary Teen in Oklahoma Dies After School Altercation

Ask students: What do you think school leaders should do to address incidents of bullying? What are some things you can do if you know of another student in your school who is being bullied?

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Teacher's note: As always, preview the video lesson before sharing with your students. This story includes discussion of events surrounding the death of Nex Benedict, a 16-year-old nonbinary student, in Oklahoma. Amna Nawaz discusses what we know with Adam Kemp, a PBS NewsHour communities correspondent based in Oklahoma, whose latest piece is here.

Summary

There are new details about an Oklahoma teenager who died the day after a physical altercation in a school restroom. Nex Benedict, who was nonbinary, attended high school in Owasso, a suburb of Tulsa. Benedict's death is raising concerns in LGBTQ+ communities and igniting fear in some families and students.

View the transcript of the story.

News alternative: Check out recent segments from the NewsHour, and choose the story you’re most interested in watching. You can make a Google doc copy of discussion questions that work for any of the stories here.

Remote video URL

Warm Up Questions

  1. Who were individuals and groups discussed in this story? Where was Nex Benedict from?
  2. What facts do we know about the events that preceded Benedict's death?
  3. How have authorities reacted to Benedict's death? What are next steps in the investigation?
  4. Why have several states including Oklahoma proposed anti-LGBTQ+ bills?
  5. How have Benedict's family and friends described Nex?

Focus Questions

  1. What do you think school leaders should do to address incidents of bullying? What are some things you can do if you know of another student in your school who is being bullied?
  2. The investigation into Benedict's death is ongoing. What questions are important to ask when aspects of the story are still unknown?
  3. How might anti-LGBTQ+ bills affect students' mental health and communities overall?

Media literacy: What resources are available if you have questions about LGBTQ+ issues and other issues around gender identity? What additional questions do you have after watching the piece?

Teacher's note: Let students know that it is understandable to be upset hearing this story and that they can talk with a teacher, school counselor/administrator or friend/family member. There are also free, nationally available resources such as hotlines, if you think you might need to talk with someone or need help.

Alternative: See, Think, Wonder: What did you notice? What did the story make you think about? What would you like to learn more about?

For More

What students can do: Watch one of the videos from Student Reporting Labs' No Labels Attached series with a friend or family member, and discuss what thoughts you had before and after you watched the segment.

Republished with permission from PBS NewsHour Classroom.

LGBTQIA+ Inclusive Educator Resources

Support and celebrate LGBTQIA+ students and inspire meaningful advocacy with these free lesson plans, activities and educator resources.

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PBS NewsHour Classroom helps teachers and students identify the who, what, where and why-it-matters of the major national and international news stories.

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