Oklahoma education chief claims Nex Benedict’s death being ‘exploited’ by ‘radical leftists’

LGBTQ, News, Nex Benedict, Ryan Walters, US
Oklahoma’s superintendent of education, Ryan Walters.

Oklahoma’s state superintendent of education, Ryan Walters, has claimed the death of non-binary teen Nex Benedict is being ‘exploited’ for “political gain” by “radical leftists”.

Benedict, 16, died on 8 February, one day after telling their family they had been involved in a physical altercation in the toilets at Owasso High School. 

Preliminary information from the medical examiner’s office, shared by the Owasso Police Department, indicated that Benedict “did not die as a result of trauma”. An official cause of death is “currently pending”. 

In an interview about Benedict’s death with The New York Times, Walters defended anti-LGBTQ+ policies impacting Oklahoma schools.

He said: “There’s not multiple genders. There’s two. That’s how God created us.” 

Walters, who previously praised Libs of TikTok creator Chaya Raichik for doing “more for transparency and accountability in schools than most elected office-holders”, said he didn’t believe trans or non-binary people exist. 

He told the publication Benedict’s death was “a tragedy” but doesn’t change the fact the state’s schools won’t allow students to use preferred names or pronouns.

The 38-year-old added: “I think it’s terrible that we’ve had some radical leftists who decided to run with a political agenda and try to weave a narrative that hasn’t been true.

“You’ve taken a tragedy, and you’ve had some folks try to exploit it for political gain,” he said.

Nicole McAfee, executive director of trans advocacy Freedom Oklahoma, told the Times: “Ryan Walters has created a devastatingly hostile environment for trans, two-spirit, and gender-nonconforming students. 

“I’ve seen more times than I can count folks share an image that Ryan Walters put out during his campaign of folks in a bathroom with language villainising trans youth specifically.”

In January, Walters again praised Libs of TikTok founder Raichik as he appointed her to Oklahoma’s library advisory committee. 

He said she was “on the front lines showing the world exactly what the radical left is all about – lowering standards, porn in schools, and pushing woke indoctrination on our kids.”

Walters continued: “Because of her work, families across the country know just what is going ion in schools around the country.”

An investigation in 2023 showed schools across the US have faced bomb threats just days after being targeted by Libs of TikTok.

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