Five Eighth Grade Students Expelled In Fake Nude Scandal

March 9, 2024 ·

interior views of an empty Japanese-style classroom. 3d render

BEVERLY HILLS—Five eighth grade students from Beverly Vista Middle School, located at 200 S. Elm Drive, have been expelled for their involvement in the creation and online distribution of AI-generated nudes of peers. At a meeting on Wednesday, March 6, the Beverly Hills Unified School District board of education approved stipulated agreements of expulsion. The five students and their parents did not contest the punishment and no hearing was held. 

According to a message sent by district and school administrators to parents and staff, students brought the images to the attention of school officials on Wednesday, February 21, who later notified the Beverly Hills Police Department. BHPD began conducting an investigation into “the creation and dissemination by other students of artificial intelligence generated (AI) images that superimposed the faces of [Beverly Vista Middle School] students onto AI-generated nude bodies,” the message said. 16 eighth-grade students were reportedly targeted in the scandal. 

By Monday, February 26, the school’s principal, Kelly Skon, reportedly met with most students from the sixth to eighth grades to discuss a number of issues raised by the incident, the Los Angeles Times reported. Principal Skon reportedly asked students to reflect on how you use social media and “don’t be afraid to leave any situation that does not align with your values,” and to “make sure your social media accounts are private and you do not have people you do not know following your accounts.”

Superintendent of Beverly Hills School District, Dr. Michael Bregy, told NBC that the misuse of this kind of technology has occurred within a number of school districts. Schools in New Jersey and Washington state have reportedly faced similar issues with AI-generated fake nudes. 

Lawmakers in New Jersey are seeking to pass legislation to ban the material, and a bill has been introduced in Washington D.C. seeking to protect “national security against the threats posed by deepfake technology and to provide legal recourse to victims of harmful deepfakes.” 

“It’s uncharted territory and we want to ensure that this isn’t something that continues,” Dr. Bregy told NBC. In a message sent to parents Thursday evening, March 7, Dr. Bregy said, “This incident has spurred crucial discussions on the ethical use of technology, including AI, underscoring the importance of vigilant and informed engagement within digital environments. In response, our district is steadfast in its commitment to enhancing education around digital citizenship, privacy, and safety for our students, staff, and parents which was immediately reemphasized at all schools following the incident,” the Los Angeles Times reported. 

Numerous “deepfake” apps have emerged in recent years, making it easy to create sophisticated fake nude and fake pornographic content. Major social media platforms and search engines allow them to be easily searchable and shared. Women, including Grammy award-winning artist, Taylor Swift, and actress, Jenna Ortega, have been victimized in fake nude scandals since.   

No criminal charges have reportedly been brought in this incident and the BHPD investigation remains ongoing. However, no laws yet exist within California that criminalize fake photos impersonating real people. Due to the suspects being minors, the identities of the five students will remain confidential. The technology used to create the fake nudes in this particular incident has not been disclosed. 

By Lacy

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