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8th graders involved in fake nude scandal expelled by Beverly Hills school district

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Five Beverly Hills eighth-graders have been expelled for their involvement in the creation and sharing of fake nude pictures of their classmates.

The Beverly Hills Unified School District board of education voted at a special meeting Wednesday evening to approve stipulated agreements of expulsion with five students. According to a source close to the investigation, the expelled students were attending Beverly Vista Middle School. Under a stipulated agreement, the students and their parents do not contest the punishment and no hearing was held.

The names of the students were not released, and the agreements are confidential. Typically, however, such agreements specify how long a student is expelled and what the terms are for their return to the district.

According to Supt. Michael Bregy, the five students who were the focus of its investigation were the “most egregiously involved” in the creation and sharing of the images, which superimposed pictures of real students’ faces onto simulated nude bodies generated by artificial intelligence. The victims, the district said, were 16 eighth-grade students.

Shared through messaging apps, the images outraged parents and school officials, prompting Bregy to tell parents in a message last month that he was prepared to impose “the most severe disciplinary actions allowed by state law.” The students involved were identified and disciplined in less than 24 hours, but the district did not move to expel them until it completed its investigation.

The Beverly Hills Police Department and the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office are still investigating the incident, but no arrests have been made or charges brought. California’s laws against possessing child pornography and sharing nonconsensual nude pictures do not specifically apply to AI-generated images, which legal experts say would pose a problem for prosecutors.

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The fake nudes circulated briefly among Beverly Vista students in late February, school officials say. They haven’t specified how the images were made, other than to say it involved generative A.I.

Dozens of A.I.-powered apps are available online to “undress” someone in a photo, simulating what a person would look like if they’d been nude when the shot was taken. Other A.I.-based tools allow you to “face swap” a targeted person’s face onto another person’s nude body.

Versions of these programs have been available for years, but the earlier ones were expensive, harder to use and less realistic. Today, AI tools can clone lifelike images and quickly create fakes; even using a smartphone, it can be accomplished in a matter of seconds.

In a message to parents Thursday evening, 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.”

No specific policy change has been announced in response to the incident, but the district had already prohibited students from using cell phones on campus.

Bregy said that the nude images, which were reported to school officials Feb. 21, were contained within 24 hours.

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

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Black couple overcomes racism to rent to Chinese family, who show gratitude by paying rent.

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Decades ago, in the early 1900s, racism and discriminatory housing practices plagued the town of Coronado, barring many individuals from living in certain neighborhoods based on their race. In the midst of this oppressive era, an inspiring story of resilience and generosity unfolded between two families — the Thompsons, a Black couple, and the Dongs, a Chinese family.

Gus and Emma Thompson, who were among the few Black families to own property in Coronado before racial restrictions took hold, defied the norms of the time by renting their house to the Dong family. Lloyd Dong Sr., a Chinese immigrant, and his wife found solace in the Thompsons’ willingness to offer them a place to call home despite the racist barriers they faced.

Fast forward 85 years later, the sons of Lloyd Dong Sr., Ron Dong, and Lloyd Dong Jr., have decided to pay forward the kindness shown to their family by donating $5 million from the sale of the house they eventually owned to San Diego State University’s Black Resource Center. This generous gift will help expand scholarships for Black students and fund renovations at the center, creating a lasting impact on the community.

Exterior view of a single-story home

The Dongs’ family house in Coronado, originally the home of the Thompsons.

(Courtesy of Janice Dong)

This heartwarming tale of intergenerational gratitude highlights the resilience and spirit of unity that transcends racial boundaries. Brandon Gamble, the director of the Black Resource Center, expressed the profound impact of this donation on the community, emphasizing the importance of stories that challenge racism and foster a sense of camaraderie.

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Reflecting on the legacy of his father and the Thompsons, Ron Dong shared, “That was the big plus for our family, because it has made all the difference for us.” The intertwined histories of the Thompson and Dong families serve as a testament to the power of empathy and solidarity in the face of adversity.

Gus Thompson’s journey from slavery to becoming a respected community leader in Coronado, coupled with Emma Thompson’s advocacy for civil rights, exemplifies the resilience and determination of marginalized communities to thrive in the face of oppression.

Gus Thompson in 1947.

Gus Thompson in 1947.

(Norman Baynard Collection / San Diego History Center)

The legacy of allyship and support exemplified by the Thompsons extends to their willingness to assist Asian Americans facing similar discriminatory practices. This act of solidarity echoes the sentiment that in times of oppression, helping others regardless of race is not just a gesture but a necessity.

As the Dong family embraced their new home in Coronado, overcoming discrimination and forging their path to homeownership, they carried forward the spirit of resilience and unity shown to them by the Thompsons. The bond between these two families serves as a beacon of hope and inspiration in a society marred with division and prejudice.

The Hotel del Coronado, a Victorian-style beach resort outside San Diego, and tent city on the beach, 1908.

The Hotel del Coronado, a Victorian-style beach resort outside San Diego, and a tent city on the beach, 1908.

(Smith Collection / Gado / Getty Images)

The resilience and determination displayed by the Dong family in the face of discrimination, coupled with their unwavering commitment to education and community upliftment, exemplify the triumph of the human spirit over adversity. The decision to give back to the community through education underscores the transformative power of generosity and empathy in creating a more inclusive and equitable society.

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As the Dongs’ generous donation paves the way for future generations to access educational opportunities and resources, their story serves as a beacon of hope and inspiration for all who strive to overcome adversity and champion unity in the face of division.

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