Five Expelled and School Board Mulls Resolution After AI Nude Images Incident

Beverly Hills Unified School District officials announced the expulsion of five Beverly Vista Middle School eighth graders on March 6 who were responsible for making and disseminating AI-generated nude photos of their classmates.

The disciplinary measures were approved during a special closed session of the BHUSD Board of Education. The expelled students were “egregiously involved” in the creation of “deepfake” images that merged the faces of 16 eighth-grade girls identified as victims onto the bodies of nude women, Superintendent Michael Bregy wrote in a statement.

Administrators declined to name any of the students involved, citing California Education laws protecting the privacy of minors.

“We recognize that kids are still learning and growing, and mistakes are part of this process,” he said. “However, accountability is essential, and appropriate measures have been taken.”

The Beverly Hills Police Department’s investigation into the matter is ongoing. Meanwhile, the controversy that unfolded at Beverly Vista Middle School has sparked “crucial discussions on the ethical use of technology,” Bregy said.

The topic has been repeatedly addressed by the BHUSD officials over the past several weeks. At its most recent meeting on March 12, Board of Education President Amanda Stern presented an early draft of a resolution aimed at “teaching our children about safe digital citizenry.”

“In this day and age, unfortunately, safety is, in my opinion, not just related to our physical safety and soundness in terms of our property, but also our presence online,” she said during the meeting.

The draft read at the meeting specifically mentioned artificial intelligence and “deepfake” images. It emphasized the district’s commitment to programs and curricula that train youth to use technology both effectively and ethically while protecting their privacy.

A summary of the draft read aloud by Stern at the meeting also referred to “perpetrators of all ages.” The statement also acknowledged that children are especially susceptible to the misuse of technology.

“The board and the superintendent will continue to work with community partners, and public and private agencies to guide, educate, and support the district parents and their children of the harms and misuse of AI and related technologies,” Stern wrote in her draft.

During the meeting, board members noted that issues related to the misuse of tech have impacts that are felt far beyond the classroom. They said educators and families around the world are still figuring out how to manage these challenges.

Board members said part of the solution may come in the form of new laws and regulation on the use of AI and called on lawmakers at all levels of government to act. They also highlighted how important families are in promoting the ethical use of tech. 

“There’s not enough mention of parents on this,” Board Member Noah Margo said. “[W]e don’t buy kids’ phones. We don’t pay for their plans. Parents should really be told, whether you know it or not, you are playing a role in this. “

“You didn’t sign up for this,” he added, acknowledging that emerging issues surrounding artificial intelligence and social media are uncharted territory that both families and educators are learning to navigate.

The board will continue to revise and edit the draft of the resolution during an upcoming study session. Once the language is finalized, it will be brought up for vote. 

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