A death in a high school restroom


I did not know that Chaya Raichik, the hatemonger behind Libs of TikTok, had an official position in Oklahoma schools. But she did. She was on the Oklahoma Department of Education’s Library Media Advisory Committee, placed there by the far-right extremist, Ryan Walters, who runs things in that state, unfortunately.

Raichik specifically targeted one school district for her hate campaign.

One of these instances was at the Owasso School District (just outside of Tulsa, Oklahoma). In 2022, Chaya Raichik targeted an Owasso teacher for speaking out in support of LGBTQ+ students who lacked acceptance from their parents. Raichik’s post was shared thousands of times on social media and resulted in the teacher getting condemned and harassed until they resigned. The posts Raichik made about the teacher were later deleted, but have been archived. It’s unclear what prompted the deletion of the posts by Raichik. We know Raichik’s Libs of TikTok posts have contributed to a culture of intolerance against LGBTQ+ youth in schools, and now this hate may be manifesting beyond mere threats.

She deleted a bunch of those posts? Why? Has she learned some shame?

No, that’s not it.

This month, a non-binary 16-year-old student at Owasso High School was brutally murdered in the girl’s restroom. According to local news outlets and family, Nex Benedict was beaten by three older female students. The mother of Benedict’s best friend told KJRH News that “one of the girls was pretty much repeatedly beating [Benedict’s] head across the floor.” Reports say Benedict was unable to take themselves to the nurse’s office after a teacher finally intervened in the brutal assault. For reasons that remain unclear, Owasso High School refused to call an ambulance for 16-year-old Nex Benedict, who died from their injuries in the hospital the next day. A motive for this killing has not been shared by law enforcement, but we know that schools in Oklahoma have been specifically pushing violent eliminationist rhetoric against transgender and non-binary youth— a fact exemplified by the state’s hiring of Chaya Raichik following her incitements of terror against the state’s schools over LGBTQ+ rights.

This is not a murder mystery, even though the MSN headline is “16-year-old Owasso student who died unexpectedly was laid to rest”. Died unexpectedly? They were brutally beaten to the point they couldn’t walk, and died in the hospital the next day. They were killed by those three students, who had been incited to the act by Chaya Raichik. That’s 4 people, at least, who need to be arrested for manslaughter, for a start.

Maybe Ryan Walters should be fired, too.

CripDyke has a thoughtful post on this crime. Go read that.

Comments

  1. raven says

    They were killed by those three students, who had been incited to the act by Chaya Raichik. That’s 4 people, at least, who need to be arrested for manslaughter, for a start.

    Manslaughter?

    This looks more like a homicide,
    And, the school was an accessory to this crime before and after the fact.

    At the very least, this student Nex’s surviving relatives should sue the school and the people who run that school.
    They were callous and negligent and that contributed to Nex’s death.

  2. Walter Solomon says

    Oklahoma Department of Education’s Library Media Advisory Committee Reich Ministry for Public Enlightenment and Propaganda

    That’s a more appropriate title for that committee.

  3. Akira MacKenzie says

    Died unexpectedly? They were brutally beaten to the point they couldn’t walk, and died in the hospital the next day. They were killed by those three students, who had been incited to the act by Chaya Raichik.

    Typical Liberal: “Look, they should have asked Oklahoma–NICELY–if they can be non-binary instead of rudely challenging their preconceived notions of sex and gender like some radical, none of this would have happened. Incrementalism isn’t just for economic, You know! The arc of history bends toward progress, but only in tiny, ineffective chunks and only you get the permission from the greedy, stupid, bigoted masses before you make any changes to society. That’s how democracy works!”

  4. raven says

    I’m just going to say it.
    Oklahoma is a hellhole for hate and bigotry, enabled by the monsters that the people elect.
    Here is one example.

    Brittney Poolaw, 20, was found guilty by a jury earlier this month after the Comanche County District Attorney’s Office in Oklahoma said her methamphetamine use was the cause of the loss of her fetus. However, the cause of death from the DA differed from the medical examiner.Oct 21, 2021

    Oklahoma woman convicted of manslaughter after miscarriage

    USA Today
    https://www.usatoday.com › news › nation › 2021/10/21

    This woman is in prison, convicted of manslaughter for having a miscarriage.

    A blood test came up positive for methamphetamine. Well, so what.
    There is no evidence that this methamphetamine use caused her miscarriage.
    And methamphetamine isn’t known for causing miscarriages anyway.

    It’s easy to see why out of all the tens of thousands of miscarriage per year in Oklahoma, they picked on her.
    A young 19 year old Native American female without a whole lot of money.

    If you are going to be monsters, it is always easiest to target the most vulnerable people. Young female, nonwhite, nonbinary, Trans, gay, poor etc..

  5. Akira MacKenzie says

    Edit: Look, if they asked Oklahoma–NICELY–if they can be non-binary instead of rudely challenging their preconceived notions of sex and gender like some radical, none of this would have happened.

  6. raven says

    I looked it up.
    This isn’t some hick school in some nowhere part of Oklahoma.
    Owasso is a suburb of Tulsa.

    This murder isn’t the least bit surprising.
    We all know that wherever you have hate speech, you will have hate violence.

    The hate speech comes from the very top of the Oklahoma power structure, the governor, the GOP, and the monsters running their education system.

  7. vucodlak says

    Four people? No. In addition to the three students, arrest every member of the staff of that school (minus any who weren’t working that day), and charge them with murder. Their refusal to call an ambulance or otherwise render meaningful aid makes them just as guilty as the students who committed the physical assault. The staff are all welcome to argue that they personally didn’t do anything wrong at their trials. Regardless of the outcome of the criminal cases, fire all of them anyway.

    Charge Raichik with murder, terrorism, inciting a riot, and hate crimes. Do this for every time an LGBTQ+ person associated with something she’s mentioned is murdered.

  8. Rob Grigjanis says

    Raging Bee @8:

    Akira: Who the fuck are you bashing as “typical liberal?”

    Akira has carefully constructed a strawman that he can, with tedious regularity, blame for whatever problems are being discussed. You’ve probably never met anyone like his strawman, because they don’t exist.

  9. birgerjohansson says

    A murder with strong similarities took place in UK not long ago.
    PM Sunak naturally made a mess of it when he condemned the murder while simultaneously hanging on to his culture war hostility to non-binary pronouns. Not very respectful to the parents of the murder victim.

  10. gijoel says

    I can’t blame people for going non-binary, when so many are willing to kill because their gender/sexual identity is threatened. I don’t know if non-binary people feel that their non-binaryness is choice or not. Please tell me if I got that wrong, cause there’s too much evil in the world today and I don’t want to add to it.

  11. says

    It’s ok to wonder but “going non-binary” puts some assumptions in.

    It’s possible the negativity and violence associated with forcing gender norms contributed to how I feel about them. It’s also possible I wasn’t going to bond with it and I’m supposed to see all of that negativity and violence.
    It’s also possible the physical punishment and peer bullying spoiled things in combination with the group punishment with my brothers when it could not be determined who did something wrong.

    I’m sure there are other possibilities. It’s ok to wonder.

  12. says

    It’s in the same set of insensitivities as profanity for me, and I can’t ever remember thinking that made sense beyond “I don’t want to get hit” . I’m not going just go changing anything but I do wonder at the sensitivity and it’s related to the sensitivity to sex education as far as I’m concerned.

  13. John Morales says

    gijoel, years here and it’s still an open question for you?
    I mean, it’s a gender identity — something one can choose how to manifest (express), but an identity nonetheless. And obviously, one’s identity can change over time, to complicate matters.

    I suppose, to put it into binary terms (ahem), if you think one can choose identities, then yes, but otherwise, then no.

    Also, non-binary is a privative term — not fully male, not fully female — and so is a rather large category.

  14. says

    If the fight making it feel negative is a potential thing, that would be part of how politics works at a group human level. That requires looking at things in terms of different political (social) instincts.

    Seems like a possible way to look at it, going all the way with “the political is personal” and including experience and developmental programming (experience is development too). My feelings about the words are colored by the fight but I don’t want to stop more than things like coercion.

    I use my different feelings to do politics. It’s not bad topic.

  15. tedw says

    As the parent of a non-binary child, and uncle of another, this breaks my heart. What a beautiful person taken so senselessly. Like so many others.

  16. John Morales says

    Crip Dyke’s piece (featured in the OP) is confronting reading.

    What is also not in dispute is that the student who died was assigned female at birth and was beaten in the girls’ bathroom.

    […]

    Twenty-one months ago Governor Kevin Stitt signed an anti-trans bathroom bill requiring trans and non-binary students to use gendered bathrooms based on their sex assigned at birth. While Republicans would have you believe such bills promote students’ safety, Benedict complied then died. Died.

  17. Silentbob says

    @ 17 Morales

    Thanks for cisplaining.

    As another cis person I would add that the question of whether one chooses to be non-binary is much like the question of whether one chooses to be an atheist. It’s a malformed question – because the “choice” is just the absence of something else.

  18. says

    For reasons that remain unclear, Owasso High School refused to call an ambulance for 16-year-old Nex Benedict…

    I’m willing to bet all the school officials were forbidden by state law from doing what they could have. CD’s article adds a little here:

    Benedict was encouraged to visit the nurse, but the teacher did not summon help to get them there or call an ambulance despite at least one student noting that Benedict could not think or walk for themself. Instead a student helped Nex to the office, possibly the nurse’s office, possibly another office…Police were not notified by the school district…

    This sounds consistent with the laws recently passed by transphobic state lawmakers, which often explicitly forbid any action to help trans kids in any situation; and which seem in this case to have been interpreted to maximize coverage of school officials’ asses, regardless of the cost to anyone else. I mean, not even notifying police? That can only mean a legal and political atmosphere where no one can afford to be seen giving any aid or comfort to a hated minority.

  19. Silentbob says

    This same shit is also going down in the UK:

    A teenaged transgender girl was stabbed 14 times at a birthday celebration in London last weekend, and a 19-year-old girl has been arrested and charged with attempted murder in the case.

    The unidentified transgender girl was attending a birthday party at the Harrow Leisure Center roller rink around 7 p.m. on Saturday, February 10, when she was allegedly subjected to transphobic abuse from a group of teenagers. Details remain unclear, but police allege Summer Betts-Ramsey stabbed the victim 14 times with a knife.

    So J K Rowling fans (who have occasionally popped up here), don’t think you have to be as explicit as the “Libs of TikTok” woman to create an environment where a tiny powerless minority are seen as fair game.

    If one has enough influence, one can just say stuff like this (about the movement for trans equality and acceptance):

    I am fighting what I see as a powerful, insidious, misogynistic movement, that has gained huge purchase in very influential areas of society. I do not see this particular movement as either benign or powerless, so I’m afraid I stand with the women[*] who are fighting to be heard against threats of loss of livelihood and threats to their safety.

    Repeat it enough and it will have the same effect.

    * The lie that transphobic hate comes from “women” as a class is contrary to all evidence. For example a UK government poll found that the greatest predictors of being transphobic were being old, conservative, and male. (Gosh, almost like… patriarchy.)

    Across the survey two distinct groups of opinion emerged, based on politics, gender and age. Labour, Lib Dem and Remain voters, along with women and younger people, are likelier to hold more trans-friendly views than Conservative and Leave voters, men and older people.

    Tranphobes tell this lie to portray their movement in a more sympathetic light, but make no mistake – as in the US this is a deeply conservative, reactionary movement. And it’s deadly. Any rational, humanist person must stand against it and speak out.

  20. Prax says

    That poor kid.

    @gijoel #14,

    I can’t blame people for going non-binary, when so many are willing to kill because their gender/sexual identity is threatened.

    Er…coming out as non-binary doesn’t generally reduce your risk of violence. Rejecting the gender binary is about as transgressive as putting yourself in the “wrong” gender. Likewise, asexuals, aromantics, bisexuals and pansexuals are not safer just because they reject the “do you like boys or girls?” dichotomy, and interracial people still suffer violence due to both their perceived race and their perceived disloyalty to that race. Whether it’s gender, orientation, race or religion, it’s risky to opt out.

    I don’t know if non-binary people feel that their non-binaryness is choice or not.

    Some do, some don’t. No way to know how a particular non-binary person feels about it other than asking them. In my entirely anecdotal experience, the majority of the peers I’ve talked to describe their gender presentation as a choice but their gender identity as mostly involuntary. Personally, I’d say that my identity (non-binary trans woman) is mostly a choice, but that’s because I tend to think of gender as mostly performative. Many others in the community strongly disagree.

    There is significant social pressure to say that it’s not a choice, because many of us still have to be diagnosed with “gender dysphoria” or some related disorder to get the health care we need, and also because people who condemn gender variance are sometimes a bit more sympathetic if they think we can’t help it. OTOH, sometimes they just get more hateful because they see us as irredeemable. Life’s exciting that way!

    @SilentBob #25

    The lie that transphobic hate comes from “women” as a class is contrary to all evidence. For example a UK government poll found that the greatest predictors of being transphobic were being old, conservative, and male. (Gosh, almost like… patriarchy.)

    I know I’ve had considerably more pushback from men than from women. Maybe it’s just where I live, but even the conservative women I meet tend to respond politely if I’m polite to them. The men are much more likely to posture, warn me not to flirt with them (wasn’t planning to!), make a declaration about their faith, etc.

  21. says

    “How did the people of Germany let it get to that point?”

    I’m sorry, but it’s not hyperbole to say this is how and it’s only going to get worse, and it may not even matter who the US president is next year. Yes, the Hamberdler has driven one party to cultish insanity, but the other party is being led by the author of the Biden crime bill, a party that is enabling the Palestinian genocide and presented an immigration bill that is far, far to the right of Reagan.

    They don’t even need a “lugenpresse” when they have the cowardly, passive voice press who write headlines like “16-year-old Owasso student who died unexpectedly was laid to rest”, misgender trans victims, and act as stenographers to the actually fascist cops who say the victim “got into a fight” instead of saying they were viciously attacked.

    But it’s better to pretend things aren’t so bad and they could get better soon lest one gets called a “doomer”.

  22. Peter B says

    Where are the Feds? To me, this bathroom assault looks like a civil rights violation and a hate crime. Was calling an ambulance against some rule that would get school staff in trouble? Ditto for a police report.

  23. Waydude says

    And she posted this on ex-twitter a few mins ago. Don’ forget who the real victim is!

    “A journo tried tying me to the de*th of a teen in Oklahoma. I call her out. And now she’s a victim.

    At least they’re openly stating their intentions. They don’t want me to be able to defend myself, they don’t want me to be able to talk about certain topics. They want me to stop exposing the sexualization of kids and just take all their abuse. They want me silenced for sharing tiktoks”

    Defending herself was by posting this on Libs of tiktok

    “You don’t hate journalists enough
    Absolute scum of the Earth”

  24. raven says

    Where are the Feds?

    Good question.
    I have no idea why they aren’t investigating.

    To me, this bathroom assault looks like a civil rights violation and a hate crime.

    Well, it is a hate crime.
    But that might be technically hard to prove.
    Trans and nonbinary aren’t really protected classes under the various civil rights laws. Or at least it is ambiguous.

    I’m pretty sure that the Owasso school district and the local Owasso cops are right now, doing everything humanly possible to try to figure out how to cover themselves and avoid taking the slightest bit of responsibility for this murder of a 16 year old nonbinary student.

    I looked up Owasso on a few websites, Reddit etc..
    It seems to be a soulless redneck suburb of Tulsa in a state run by hate filled right wing bigots. The local cops seem to be part of the problem not part of any solution.

    As has been pointed out repeatedly, the media coverage of this murder is cuckoo. No, she didn’t die unexpectedly. She was murdered.
    She wasn’t in a fight. She was attacked in the bathroom by 3 girls.

    Well see what happens.
    If this gets swept under the rug, which is what the school district and the entire government of OKlahoma wants, then that is one murder in plain sight that a lot of people will get away with.

  25. says

    No sexualization of course. They just toss that around like a label. Like that matters to a beating in bathroom.
    They destroy their own supposed values since in that frame the person beaten was a victim of “sexualization”, abuser logic. Anything getting near sex and gender becomes “sexualization” to these fear soaked wretches when they feel bad about something. In their protected whine arenas they don’t have to worry about demands for the criminal accusations they just made.

    It’s often functionally identical with the shallow sensitivity to sexual orientation and mere sex education. I keep saying that connection because it’s like splintered faces of terror about sex and gender. They have negative feelings that go nowhere and I want to find the right words to compel them to get specific before I mock their general sense of social threat. They are very comfortable gossiping in sickening fashion.

  26. says

    I’ve really been thinking about this in the clown context. And the Ruff social structure with satellite individuals. It’s hard because I can only speak for myself here.

    My instincts are compatible with just letting these people type their fill socially and then dismantling what they’ve typed. As long as they don’t go physical I don’t care beyond social splash damage. A part of me grins, they only have fear and gossip. Their responses confirm it. The bad-faith behavior becomes the subject because it goes nowhere.

    It’s why my parents flee from challenge with defensive avoidance. They can be broken socially. They don’t even know how weakly they are socially connected and how this behavior gets turned on one another very quickly since it’s about irrational dominance.

    I’m not sure exactly what so do with this yet. But I’m thinking hard about it. And I’ll outline vulnerabilities until I do.

  27. brightmoon says

    It’s things like this thst made me understand that my extremely homophobic father’s rants were toxic A Male friend in high school almost died because of a violent homophobe

  28. Prax says

    My younger brother (also trans) had to pressure his high school to give him access to single-person bathrooms, because he couldn’t go into the boys’ or girls’ bathroom without getting beaten up. That was in Berkeley, 15 years ago. I wonder how many decades it will take Oklahoma to catch up.

  29. DanDare says

    Why do we even say “the murder of a 26yo non binary student”.
    We are talking about the murder of a 16 year old while at a school that has responsibility for her safety.
    The extra adjectives should not be a factor in that outrage, even if they may come up when ascribing motive to the attackers.

  30. John Morales says

    [meta]

    DanDare, because people would just amend their posts as required. Human nature, and all that.

    “What? No! I never said that!”
    “Look, I predicted that a week ago! I just fixed that comma a few minutes ago, that’s why the edit timestamp!”
    Etc.

    Me, I fuck up all the time, but if I feel it’s worth addressing, I do so; I repost, or put errata up as you yourself did. Too lazy to always preview — though that functionality is there — and too fallible to be a perfect editor if I do so.

    No biggie.

  31. says

    Why do we even say “the murder of a 26yo non binary student”.
    We are talking about the murder of a 16 year old while at a school that has responsibility for her safety.

    Are you remotely serious?

    Because the state in which Nex lived blamed trans people for making bathrooms unsafe for schoolchildren.
    Because the state in which Nex lived banned trans public school students from using any bathrooms other than gender-restricted bathrooms congruent with their gender assigned at birth.
    Because the state SecEd compared parents of trans kids with parents who kill their own children through abuse or neglect.
    Because the state SecEd appointed the stochastic terrorist LibsOfTikTok founder Chaya Raichik to a state education advisory board charged with, among other things, keeping students safe AFTER we knew that she inspired threats and violence across the country.
    Because the Utah state board of education includes someone who encouraged her Facebook followers to harass a cis basketball player for looking too strong
    Because trans people have historically been arrested and jailed for defending themselves against unprovoked attacks, leaving us without protection when violent cissexists assault us and the powers that be in government — including law enforcement — take the side of those who would use bloody violence to erase gender disobedience.
    Because the school in question knew that Nex was being bullied and did nothing.

    The schools know they have a responsibility to protect kids. The politicians know that they have a responsibility to protect kids. And they have leveraged that public responsibility into a weapon to attack trans people and strip them of the means to defend themselves. Reminding the schools and politicians that they have a responsibility to protect kids is not going to solve this problem. They can simply resort to attacking trans people harder in the legislature, and the bullies will see that and feel more and more comfortable attacking trans kids wherever they can escape the eyes of adults, which is, not coincidentally, often in bathrooms.

    The general responsibility to protect kids has been made into a weapon to hurt trans people. You are giving that weapon a powerup while denouncing victims’ and allies’ resistance to lethal violence because you don’t like how it sounds.

    Cis people have made this a cis/trans issue. DO THE FUCK NOT call out trans people and their friends for fighting back.

  32. says

    Why do we even say “the murder of a 26yo non binary student”.

    Because it’s a relevant fact (that will come out soon anyway), because it establishes motive (which everyone will be asking about anyway), and because it’s a necessary first step in figuring out where that hatred and malevolence came from (which we have to do in order to call it out and, hopefully, reduce or eliminate it).

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