Education Department to open investigation into Nex Benedict's Oklahoma school district

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The Department of Education is opening an investigation into whether the Oklahoma school district where the late 16-year-old transgender student Nex Benedict attended high school failed to appropriately respond to sex-based harassment, according to a letter obtained by NBC News on Friday.

The letter was addressed to the Human Rights Campaign, the country’s largest LGBTQ rights group, which had filed a complaint with the department following Benedict’s Feb. 8 death.

Benedict died a day after engaging in a fight with three other students in a school bathroom at Owasso High School, in a case that has drawn intense media attention and condemnation from LGBTQ advocates around the world. 

In its complaint, the HRC called on the Department of Education to investigate the district for failing “to address the discrimination and harassment to which Nex was subjected” and to determine whether the district violated Title IX, a landmark civil rights law that protects people from gender-based discrimination in education programs funded by the federal government.