Ronald Reagan High Student Sues After School Newspaper Used His Photo To Illustrate STD Story

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kennyphoto.jpg
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Face blocked out of sympathy.
A former student at Ronald W. Reagan/Doral Senior High School has filed a lawsuit against the district, claiming that his face was used to illustrate a school newspaper article on sexually transmitted diseases in teenagers. After the article, kids teased him with the nickname "STD Boy".

Kenneth "Kenny" Clements-- who has since graduated and is now an eighteen-year-old AC/DC fan, as revealed by his Facebook page-- filed suit last week. In February 2011, the Reagan Advocate published a story entitled "Teen Stay Quiet About STD's". The story featured a photograph of Kenny, he claims in the suit, with an "x" over his mouth.

Kenny's lawyer, Harry Shevin, sent us a bad reproduction of the story. We've posted it below. "In the original, the picture was only slightly blurred," says Shevin. "You could very clearly tell it was Kenneth."

kenny2.jpg
Click to enlarge. We're also kind of dubious about that figure in the first sentence.

In the suit, Kenny says that the "x" infers that "he was keeping quiet about an alleged sexually transmitted disease." The complaint makes clear that "Kenneth Clements did not have any sexually transmitted disease." As a result of his unfortunate stardom, Kenny suffered "injury to his reputation" resulting in "shame, humiliation, mental anguish, and hurt feelings."

Shevin says he doesn't know why Kenny's photo was used, but he doesn't rule out retaliation or bullying.

In the paper, a student is credited for the graphic's production. According to the Advocate's website, the adult apparently in charge of the newspaper and yearbook is Lourdes Montiel. She didn't respond to a message left on her voicemail at school.

The suit claims that the principal, Jacques Bentolila, also reviewed the newspaper before it was published. We left a message with his secretary and are waiting to hear back. Updated: Miami-Dade Public Schools spokesperson John Schuster declined to comment, citing "the possibility of litigation."

There's a lesson here for young journalists: Acquaint yourself with the concept of commercial stock photos. Says Attorney Shevin: "I know that for my website I used a stock photo of a hot woman with a phone headpiece."

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23 comments
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Captain Obvious
Captain Obvious

WOW, Sarah.... I cannot even believe you think that kid deserved what was done to him. I  can't believe you find the paper has the right to ask this kid to prove anything. He is the victim! The fact that students began to bully him as a result proves the original print of that paper which included his picture did not effectively conceal his identity. Do you even get the fact that it absolutely does NOT even matter if he did or did NOT or does or does NOT have a STD? This is about the fact that this paper used his picture, printed it, then circulated it WITHOUT HIS CONSENT! That is the issue NOT whether or not he has a STD, you fucking moron (yes, I typed you fucking moron)! I could not hold it in any longer. Are you a mother or do you have nieces & nephews? If your child or family member were made to be the poster child for STDs without consent, would you still think the burden for them to PROVE ANYTHING would be justified and/or mandated? You clearly are made of 99% BITCH, 1% STUPID WOMEN.You earned that "stupid" because you think it is gramatically correct to write/say, "an STD".... which translates to "an sexually transmitted disease" .... drop the N from that A moron. And the fact that you have your picture up there... leads me to wonder if it would be ok if your picture was copied and then without your consent used in an article making you the poster child for Obesity? For your sake, I hope Jenny Craig doesn't think like you because watch out if she does! I would encourage you to just go back to what you were doing before showing your ignorance here. Unfortunately, that activity allows you to have a vote! Your ignorance and lack of empathy should be a justified reason to evoke your voting privileges.  Period!  End!  Of!  Story!   

M75462
M75462

Take them to the cleaners. You have a heck of a case

Jason Rahall
Jason Rahall

The poor students are getting a lesson in tabloid journalism. Also, the plural of STD is STDs, not STD's.

Domhouston
Domhouston

For the sake of the judicial process, let's hope that Sarah Glenn never ends up on a jury. Yikes.

anuran
anuran

Make that "the certainty of successful litigation" and the school official is correct.

Guest
Guest

That aside, what kind of BS stat is it that claims two-thirds of the US population under age 22 has an STD?

That kind of flawless research probably qualifies the kid to work for Fox.

Synja
Synja

Miami is officially the dumbest city in the US. At first I thought that was a statistical anomaly due to the high number of hispanic immigrants affecting the official literacy rate, but having been to Miami, this sort of short sightedness and general ignorance seems to be the norm. The English teachers, the journalism teachers, and the math teachers should be disciplined for the errors here.

Maybe we should bring back corporal punishment?

Sunrise_emiliano
Sunrise_emiliano

Where are yoi from Synja?? Your name doesn't sound american at all... And you complain and insult latin people????

Melinda_cook68
Melinda_cook68

Sarah Glenn would you say that if it was a picture of one of your kids or friend or loved one? How about this picture with a STD headline? Oopsy, that might just be embarrasing. get my point? https://www.facebook.com/sarah...

Melinda_cook68
Melinda_cook68

Sarah Glenn would you say that if it was a picture of one of your kids or friend or loved one? How about this picture with a STD headline? Oopsy, that might just be embarrasing. get my point?

https://www.facebook.com/sarah...

Sarah Glenn
Sarah Glenn

If I were the paper, I'd ask for him to PROVE that he didn't have an STD, nor had ever been diagnosed with one... that could get interesting. Beats following the GOP primaries.

Bonoboism
Bonoboism

Sarah, and this is why you don't run a paper, they made the allegations so the burden of proof falls on them.  If they fail to prove that they had concrete evidence at the time they ran the article that he had or has an STD, then they're going to lose in court if that's the tact they take--and well they should, he's not the one who did something wrong here.

Liz
Liz

Obviously, you don't run a paper either. In a libel case, the burden of proof is on the plaintiff, not the paper. The paper made no "allegations." The story was generic and the picture was a graphic with the boy's face blurred and covered with an X. Nowhere in the article did it identify the boy or state that he was the topic of their article or had an STD himself.To sue and win in a libel case, the plaintiff must be able to prove a combination of five things. 1) Defamation of character - this boy will have to prove in court that his reputation was harmed by the initial publication (not all the hype that is coming up now) 2) Identification - he will have to prove that you can clearly identify him in the picture (we don't know if this is true becuase the pictures here are blacked out) 3) Publication - the defamatory material was published (obviously) 4) Fault - he will have to prove that the paper was hurtful or showed actual malice toward him (this is very hard to prove since both the writer and photographer could say he gave them a verbal okay and is now changing his mind just to get money 5) Damages - the boy will have to prove that there are real injuries (i.e. he lost a job, can't get hired, etc.)What strikes me as odd is the fact that the picture and story ran almost a whole year ago and he's just now suing the paper. Also, in Miami-Dade County Public Schools, there is no prior review. Students are free from censorship. The teacher acts as an adviser, not an editor or publisher. The school and county do not control content, therefore should not be sued. Was this a poor choice of picture to run with this article? Probably. Should the adviser have said something to the kids to help them rethink their decision? Sure. But at the same time, if this picture caused so much grief, then why didn't the boy say something or do something about it when it was actually causing the grief. Not a year later.

joefranklins
joefranklins

In other words, Liz, you're a dumbarse ! 

joanne
joanne

Somebody missed First Semester Torts; res ipsa loquitur; The Thing Speaks For Itself. There is the picture which other people have identified as the plaintiff (they will testify to that fact), there is the headline, which the jury will be shown, and the story that the jury will read. The jury will be told they may use their own good judgement to decide if that is defamation. They will be told what defamation is. The Thing, Picture, Headline, and Story, speaks for itself; it screams Defamation!

Muff Dickkracken
Muff Dickkracken

Oh Liz, you're such a legal genius and supporter..don't ever litigate please. The editor used a photo from their own archives of students.  It shows negligence or intent.  A photo accompanying an article is enough to draw a line of insinuation even if the intent was not there.  Negligence and ignorance can contribute to libelous liability.  The original image was not blurred enough as this student was immediately identified. The damages are real, he was humiliated and may have missed school or other social events with his peers because his reputation was harmed. 

Monica
Monica

Have you ever sued anyone? Probably not, you did your Wikipedia homework and KIND OF know what you're talking about. The boy didn't decide JUST NOW to sue the school, if you know ANYTHING about law, this was started a long time ago. You have to go through the process of picking the right team to represent you, depositions, whole nine yards. Now that I've said that- I don't exactly think that he's suing the school simply because other kids "picked on him". It's because this is a PUBLISHED ARTICLE in a newspaper. Did you see any other articles on this with his actual picture? Probably not again. Point is, it's him. Further more, because this is a published article, this could affect all different kinds of life situations, (relationships, jobs etc...) haven't you ever heard, don't post or publish things you don't want people to see, because once it's out there, it's out there for good? I'm sure you're the person who's sitting there saying, "I put what I want on my facebook and I don't care what anyone thinks". Well I'm sure when you go to get hired at a decent place and they don't hire you because there's a picture of you smashed on a table, dancing, flashing the camera, you'll think twice. 

This boy was bullied to the FULLEST extent. Now I'm going to say that you're one of those people that disagree with whatever anyone else thinks about a subject, however if he wasn't strong enough to STAND UP FOR HIMSELF and do this, and had committed suicide like so many other children did because they were bullied, I have a feeling that you wouldn't be saying those things. Not to mention, if this was YOUR child, I'm sure you wouldn't just be patting him on the head and telling him to toughen up.

Cakelady
Cakelady

First off it takes six months before you can submit a lawsuit to a government entity so the lawsuit started asap!  Watch the news video at www.nbcmiami.com and the facts are all on the news yesterday in his video

James G. Camp
James G. Camp

There happens to be privacy legislation in healthcare for a reason. This kid is going to make good coin on his lawsuit. His std is going to make him a tidy sum in the judgment against Miami-Dade County schools.

ivxx
ivxx

lol @ you saying "his STD"

that's exactly why he would win this case... he doesn't have an STD but thanks to this story, everyone now thinks he does... even us making comments...

GrowUp
GrowUp

Even if he does, what business is the STD status of a minor to the rest of the world?

GrowUp
GrowUp

Even if he does, what business is the STD status of a minor to the rest of the world?

Dan1184
Dan1184

to future girlfriends? everything

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