Laguna Beach HS investigating incident involving AI-generated nude photos of students

The photos may have been shared among students through text messages.

David González Image
Tuesday, April 2, 2024
AI-generated nude photos of students reported at Laguna Beach HS
The AI-generated photos may have been shared among students through text messages. Parents of students at the school were notified about the incident last week.

LAGUNA BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- Laguna Beach High School has launched an investigation into the creation of inappropriate or nude photos of several students using artificial intelligence.

The AI-generated photos may have been shared among students through text messages. Parents of students at the school were notified about the incident last week.

"High school is hard enough, and to have to deal with something like this is just soul-crushing," said Mary Torres.

"There's so much AI, and it's very prevalent out there, and kids are very smart, they're very tech savvy, much more than we are," said parent Aimee Tabor. "But their decision making capabilities aren't the best."

For parents like Parul Doshi, the incident is "not shocking."

"I think the teens are super tech savvy, so this is just one other arm of that," she said.

At the moment, the school has not identified who may be behind the alleged generated photos or the number of possible victims.

In a letter to parents, Principal Jason Allemann said, "In our small community, these incidents can have far-reaching impact on our campus culture. These actions not only compromise individual dignity but also undermine the positive and supportive environment we aim to foster at LBHS."

Last month, Beverly Hills Unified School District expelled five 8th graders for their involvement in using AI to generate nude photos of classmates and sharing them with others.

"It's like evolving so fast, but I think my reaction is obviously concern just because you see things like this happen to big stars like Taylor Swift, so if Taylor Swift can't even be protected from things like this, then what about our kids?" said Torres.

In January, millions came across fake sexually explicit AI-generated images of Swift on social media, prompting a response from the White House.

In a statement Laguna Beach Unified School District said:

"We are required by law to keep student discipline matters confidential to protect the privacy and well-being of our students. In any situation that arises, the safety and security of our students is always our top priority. Simultaneously, it falls within our role as educators to guide students toward understanding the consequences of their actions, particularly in terms of their impact on peers and the wider campus community. High school is a pivotal time for shaping students, offering us the opportunity to nurture them into empathetic individuals who are mindful of the world around them. Maintaining a careful balance between accountability and empathy is essential as we navigate and address critical issues."

Parents want to see the incident handled appropriately.

"I support the discipline. Children need to have consequences, and even though it's a tough lesson to learn, AI is only going to be more prevalent," said Tabor.

"I would leave it to the school district. I don't have that expertise," Doshi O'Neill said.

Furthermore, Torres added, "I would want them to be held accountable because you don't want it to happen again to anybody else at the school including your own children."

In his letter, Allemann said, "We share deep empathy for the students and families involved, understanding the distress and worry they, as well as the wider student body, may be experiencing.

LBHS plans to host panel discussions this week that will cover online privacy, legal and ethical considerations of sharing contact, the impact of online behavior on future opportunities and relationships and managing digital footprints.

The Laguna Beach Police Department is aware of the incident and is assisting the district in its investigation.