District 211, photo company sued over image of girl exposed at Conant dance
A Wisconsin-based photography company and Palatine-Schaumburg High School District 211 are being sued by a former Conant High School student over a publicly posted photo of her during a slip of her dress at last year's homecoming dance.
The suit states that the image showing a momentary exposure of the Schaumburg girl's chest during the October 2019 dance resulted in her being repeatedly publicly humiliated, harassed, sexually harassed and bullied, for which she sought counseling.
The lawsuit seeks at least $50,000 in damages from both Visual Image Photography Inc. of Cedarburg, Wisconsin, and District 211, which contracted the company's services for the event.
Neither District 211 officials nor representatives of the photography company responded to requests for comment Thursday.
According to the lawsuit, the image was displayed and made publicly available for sale and download on the photography company's website for several days before it was reported by a parent. The dean of students at the Hoffman Estates school was made aware of the photo a day later, the suit states.
The lawsuit alleges at least nine visitors clicked on and viewed the photo, in addition to however many may have seen it in the website's gallery view.
The photo was posted on the Conant Varsity Football Team Snapchat, and at least six members of the team admitted they had seen, possessed or discussed the photo when they were interviewed by school administrators, according to the suit.
Those suit alleges willful and wanton conduct, voluntary undertaking, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligence and intrusion upon seclusion.
A letter of apology purportedly written to school administrators by Visual Image Photography President Courtney Lutz was included in the lawsuit.
"On behalf of everyone at VIP we want to apologize to the student we photographed and the family that has been affected by this occurrence," Lutz reportedly wrote. "We are very sorry for our error that contributed to this circumstance."
The photo had been missed by the careful steps taken to review each image as a precaution against such errors, Lutz is quoted as writing.
"Everything we do here at VIP is to create positive memories and experiences," the letter quoted in the lawsuit continues. "We would never intend to contribute to a negative experience for a student or a family. Personally, I have a 17-year-old and a 21-year-old daughter. I understand and want to help anyway I can."