School Uses Student's Bikini Picture to Promote Social Media Safety

High school students are no strangers to slut-shaming. It often comes from their peers, but every so often, it comes from the adults that are supposed to help guide them.

The director of Technology of Fayette County School District in Georgia was tasked with putting together a presentation of the dangers of social media. Namely, the idea that "once it's there, it's there to stay." It's a worthwhile message that probably needs to be repeated as much as possible to a generation this plugged into technology.

The problem is that said director decided to illustrate his point with pictures from the county's students' Facebooks — without their permission. So when teenager Chelsea Chaney walked into the social media presentation along with the rest of her high school, the last thing she was expecting to see projected on the giant screen was a picture of her in a bikini.

That alone would have been incredibly embarrassing for the average high schooler in the midst of a changing body and adolescent angst. But what's worse is that the presenter was using Chaney's picture to suggest that she was a "promiscuous abuser of alcohol" based on absolutely no evidence. The picture in question (shown above) did not feature Chaney drinking, nor did it have a raging party as the backdrop. In fact, it only shows Chaney in a bikini at a car wash standing next to a cutout of Snoop Dogg. 

But apparently, this is enough to label her a "promiscuous abuser of alcohol" because ... she's wearing a bikini? Right.

Understandably "horrified," Chaney walked out of the presentation and took her issue to the local news. She told the news station that she had uploaded the picture herself to her Facebook, but thought it would only be visible to her friends on the site. Additionally, she commented that it was incredibly wrong of the Director of Technology to use students' pictures without their permission and without informing them.

Chaney is currently suing the school district to the tune of $2 million. It's unlikely that the lawsuit will actually hold in court, considering that the school was not profiting from the images and precedent for similar cases does not rule in favor of the plaintiff. But even if it's not legally out-of-bounds, for the school to choose a picture of a current student and then malign it publicly for no particular reason is in incredibly poor taste and in no way reflects the protection of students that should be the school officials' priority. It's slut-shaming of the worst kind.

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Medha Chandorkar

As a junior at Georgetown University in Washington DC, I'm studying Government, Women's and Gender Studies, and Justice and Peace Studies. I'm interested in social justice issues, particularly women's rights in the developing world, and politics. Outside of school, I love dancing and reading, and I'm a huge TV / movie buff. In the future, I hope to become a lawyer but right now, I'm just focused on the moment.

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