LGBTQ Advocacy Groups Demand Removal of Oklahoma Education Chief Following Tragic Death

LGBTQ Advocacy Groups Demand Removal of Oklahoma Education Chief Following Tragic Death | Future Education Magazine


Source- SheThePeople

In a collective effort, over 350 LGBTQ and civil rights organizations are urging the removal of Oklahoma’s State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Ryan Walters, following the tragic death of LGBTQ high school student Nex Benedict. The demand is outlined in a letter issued to legislative leaders in Oklahoma, emphasizing the need for immediate action to address what these groups perceive as fostering a culture of violence and hate against the Two-Spirit, transgender, and gender nonconforming+ community within the state’s educational institutions.

Allegations Against Superintendent Walters

According to a press release from the Human Rights Campaign on Wednesday, the letter accuses Superintendent Ryan Walters of exacerbating a hostile environment within Oklahoma schools. The document points to recent decisions by Walters, including the passing of an emergency rule preventing a transgender teen from updating their gender on school files due to bullying concerns. Another contentious incident involved Walters advocating for the dismissal of a principal engaged in weekend drag performances, subsequently leading to violent threats against the educator. LGBTQ advocates argue that these actions contribute to an unsafe and discriminatory atmosphere for marginalized students.

Investigation into death of Oklahoma LGBTQ student during fight at school

Tragic Death Sparks Controversy and Superintendent’s Defense

The tragic death of Nex Benedict, a high school sophomore from Owasso, on February 8, following a physical altercation in a school bathroom, has fueled the demand for Superintendent Walters’ removal. Benedict’s grandmother and legal guardian, Sue Benedict, revealed that the student had been a target of bullying related to their gender identity since the previous year. Despite the public outcry and the direct connection drawn by advocates between Benedict’s death and LGBTQ-related policies in Oklahoma, Superintendent Walters has staunchly defended his stance. In response to mounting criticism, Walters expressed condolences for the loss and affirmed his commitment to the safety of students. However, he also accused detractors of exploiting the tragedy for a political agenda, vowing to continue fighting for parents and resisting what he termed the “woke mob.”

As the controversy intensifies, the battle between advocacy groups and Superintendent Walters underscores broader debates around LGBTQ rights, safety in schools, and the responsibilities of educational leaders to foster inclusive environments. The tragic death of Nex Benedict serves as a stark reminder of the pressing need to address systemic issues affecting LGBTQ students in educational settings.

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