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Student bikini photo leads to $2M lawsuit

Administrator uses student’s bikini photo in Internet safety seminar
Administrator uses student’s bikini photo in Internet safety seminar.
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Updated: 6/21/2013 9:28 am
ATLANTA, Ga. (WSB-TV) -- To prove a point about the risks of social media, a local school administrator presented a photo of a bikini-clad student at a district wide seminar.

Now, the woman is suing the school system.

"I was embarrassed. I was horrified," Chelsea Chaney told Channel 2's Rachel Stockman. "It never crossed my mind that this would ever, ever happen to me."

Chaney, who is now a college freshman, said the Fayette County Schools Director of Technology used a photo taken from her Facebook profile to tell parents and students about the dangers of posting pictures on the Internet and the long-term effects. The presentation happened at a district-wide seminar.

The photo was posted with the title "Once it's there, it's there to stay," Chaney said.

She admits she posted the photo on her Facebook page but thought only friends and friends of friends could see it.

She and her attorney take issue with the fact that she didn’t give permission for her photo to be used.

The Chaney family told Stockman they tried to work with the school district to come to a resolution but were forced to hire an attorney.

"I wish it was taken more seriously and gotten a more sincere apology," Chaney said.

"Their idea that putting something on Facebook gives them a license to steal it and Carte blanche to do with it what they did is wrong ethically, it's wrong morally and it's absolutely wrong legally," attorney Pete Wellborn said.

"(They) then used it out of context to suggest that Chelsea is a promiscuous, abuser of alcohol," Wellborn added.
Chaney is asking for $2 million because she wants her claim to be taken seriously.

A school district spokesman says it cannot comment on litigation but it does not believe it has any legal liability.

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