Teen Girls Confront an Epidemic of Deepfake Nudes in Schools

Westfield Public Schools held a regular board meeting in late March at the local high school, a red brick complex in Westfield, N.J., with a scoreboard outside proudly welcoming visitors to the “Home of the Blue Devils” sports teams.

But it was not business as usual for Dorota Mani.

In October, some 10th-grade girls at Westfield High School — including Ms. Mani’s 14-year-old daughter, Francesca — alerted administrators that boys in their class had used artificial intelligence software to fabricate sexually explicit images of them and were circulating the faked pictures. Five months later, the Manis and other families say, the district has done little to publicly address the doctored images or update school policies to hinder exploitative A.I. use.

“It seems as though the Westfield High School administration and the district are engaging in a master class of making this incident vanish into thin air,” Ms. Mani, the founder of a local preschool, admonished board members during the meeting.

In a statement, the school district said it had opened an “immediate investigation” upon learning about the incident, had immediately notified and consulted with the police, and had provided group counseling to the sophomore class.

Tenth-grade girls at Westfield High School in New Jersey learned last fall that male classmates had fabricated sexually explicit images of them and shared them.Credit…Peter K. Afriyie/Associated Press

“All school districts are grappling with the challenges and impact of artificial intelligence and other technology available to students at any time and anywhere,” Raymond González, the superintendent of Westfield Public Schools, said in the statement.

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