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The true story of Nex Benedict's tragic death is nothing like the media’s nightmare spin

OpinionThe true story of Nex Benedict's tragic death is nothing like the media’s nightmare spin

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‘Never let a good tragedy go to waste’ is the unspoken mantra of the radical progressive left, and that mantra has been hard at work in Oklahoma these past few weeks in the case of Nex Benedict.  
Indeed, the grotesquely distorted radical, progressive, Democrat narrative surrounding the death of a teenage girl in Oklahoma last month has been the source of a great deal of national media attention.  

However, this child’s memory and the truth of what actually happened to her are just the latest instances of collateral damage in the woke mob and corporate media’s efforts to smear school choice, traditional values and the Oklahomans who believe in them. 


Here’s how the leftist narrative goes: a young girl who identified herself as nonbinary was beaten up in a high school bathroom in Owasso. She later tragically died of her injuries all as the result of hateful rhetoric of national conservative leaders all across the country. These leaders led others to cause violence against her. This narrative was spun for weeks without any evidence or proof.   

Nex Benedict

The death of Nex Benedict has been ruled a suicide. FILE: In this image provided Malia Pila, Nex Benedict poses outside the family’s home in Owasso, Okla., in December 2023. (Sue Benedict via AP)

They continuously tried to co-opt this story into a tale of martyrdom, where everything they claimed that this was all from a so-called “climate of hate and bigotry” and allege some deluge of new information about harassment in Oklahoma’s public schools because of the values that the Oklahoma State Department of Education has been working to reinstill in public education. 

That is not hyperbolic in the least. If you believe the leftist opinion headlines, this tragedy was a direct and inescapable outcome of making students use bathrooms that correspond with biological reality. 

In response, hundreds of LGBT organizations and activists called for me to step down. Now, as then, I will disappoint the woke mob and give them every reason to run back to their keyboards and spin even more dishonest rhetoric. 

But facts — John Adams reminds us — are stubborn things. And the facts of this case have turned out to be quite inconvenient for the narrative peddlers. It still remains unclear specifically why Benedict was beaten in that bathroom.  

No reason is sufficient to justify a physical altercation. While details are murky at best, the motive is not something to be assumed or spun up out of thin air. Further, bodycam footage released amid the aftermath of the incident shows Benedict admitting to starting the altercation.  
Further, law enforcement authorities have indicated that Benedict did not die as the result of trauma. Finally, and most awful, deeper reporting on the matter revealed allegations of a longer horrific history of parental sexual abuse and psychological trauma than mere bullying at school. Yet the media and the activist cadre have yet to own up to their crass manipulation of this young woman’s suffering. 


Because let’s be frank about what’s actually going on here. This isn’t about a teenager’s death. It isn’t even really about bullying. This is a pretext for attacking the traditional values and the educational freedom agenda that the people of Oklahoma elected me to fight for. The mob took the first news story that it could use for its own ends and ran with it. That’s it. That’s why the facts don’t matter, the narrative is what they needed. 

Tragically, Nex took her own life, according to the medical examiner’s report in March. 

Vigil Held At Stonewall In New York City For Nex Benedict, Non-Binary Teen Who Died In Oklahoma

People gather outside the Stonewall Inn in New York City on February 26, 2024, for a memorial and vigil for nonbinary Oklahoma teenager Nex Benedict who died. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

The bottom line is this: the safety of my students has always been my first and foremost priority as an educator, from my first day in the classroom to now. I never tolerated bullying of any kind for any reason when I was a teacher, and I do not tolerate it whatsoever as the superintendent of Education.  

Any Oklahoma public school teacher or administrator who believes otherwise on the topic is always welcome to find other employment. But, I will make zero apologies for representing the values of the Oklahoma voters who elected me. I make zero apologies for working to serve the needs and interests of the parents and students that I serve.  


I’m not afraid of politics. I knew I would be attacked when I decided to get into this business, and I knew I would be lied about. Nevertheless, it is still despicable that anyone would not only so brazenly use a thing as horrific as a child’s death to gin up political discord for personal gain. It is even more despicable that so many would willfully and knowingly turn a blind eye to the facts, simple reason and basic human dignity to keep the whole thing going once contradicted.  

This mob and its rabid propaganda cannot change the facts of Benedict’s death any more than they can change the simple realities of human biology, no matter how much bile and misinformation they spew into the public discourse.  


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