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Press Release

NEA President Becky Pringle issues statement about the death of nonbinary student Nex Benedict in Owasso, Oklahoma

WASHINGTON—The following statement can be attributed to NEA President Becky Pringle.
Published: February 22, 2024

Most of us believe that every child, no matter where they live, what they look like or who they love deserve safe and supportive schools and communities where they can thrive. Nex Benedict deserved a future full of possibility and potential. However, in Oklahoma and across the country, some legislators and decision makers are flooding state capitols and school boards with anti-LGBTQ+ legislation and hateful rhetoric. The students that terrorized Nex heard these messages of hate and division spewed by state and local leaders loud and clear.

“Instead of trying to distract us from their failures to ensure every Oklahoma student has a fully funded education and safe and affirming schools, our leaders should stop targeting our youth and get busy doing what works for our students so they can become the problem solvers of tomorrow. From Oklahoma to Florida and beyond, educators, parents and community leaders will honor Nex by joining together so that every child has a future where they are cherished for being their authentic selves, can acquire the skills to pursue their dreams and thrive.”

NEA President Becky Pringle yesterday also posted a message on X, formerly Twitter, about the death of Nex.

NEA has curated the following resources to support our LGBTQ+ students and educators:

Defending the Freedom of our LGBTQ+ Students to be Themselves



Follow on X (formerly Twitter) at @NEAToday and @BeckyPringle 




The National Education Association is the nation’s largest professional employee organization, representing more than 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators, students preparing to become teachers, healthcare workers, and public employees. Learn more at 


National Education Association

Great public schools for every student

The National Education Association (NEA), the nation's largest professional employee organization, is committed to advancing the cause of public education. NEA's 3 million members work at every level of education—from pre-school to university graduate programs. NEA has affiliate organizations in every state and in more than 14,000 communities across the United States.