Second scandal reported at South African school founded by Oprah

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oprah_winfrey_leadership_academy.jpg
BY KARA SPAK

A second scandal has rocked the South African girls school founded by Oprah Winfrey, leading to the suspensions of seven students, according to foreign media reports.

The students at the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy School For Girls were suspended for "inappropriate behavior" toward other children, the British Telegraph newspaper reports.

"Several students were expelled last week for violating the Leadership Academy's Code of Conduct. We consider this to be a confidential school matter. Therefore, we will not confirm any personal information or disclose any details related to these expulsions," said Lisa Halliday, spokeswoman for the school.

Quoting reports from the Afrikaans on Sunday newspaper, a 15-year-old "preyed" on another student, then coerced others into lying to investigators about what happened.
Six other students were suspended after "being alleged to have touched each other intimately," or intimidating others into inappropriate behavior, the Telegraph reports.

"It is because they contravened the school's code of conduct," Halliday told the the Telegraph. This is the second incident of alleged sexual misconduct at the school, which opened in January 2007 after Winfrey contributed $40 million to the project.

In 2007, a dorm matron was charged with sexually abusing and assaulting six students and another supervisor.

Following the matron's arrest, a tearful Winfrey vowed to "clean house" at the boarding school for impoverished girls. She called the incident "one of the most devastating, if not the most devastating, experiences of my life."

"Indiscretions resulting in disciplinary action are common in schools all over the world. Unfortunately, because of my name these common infractions place the Academy in the media spotlight," Winfrey said in a statement Tuesday. " As each of the girls enrolled, she agreed to adhere to the school's Honor Code and Code of Conduct policy, which values personal integrity and ensures an environment of shared trust and community. I'm disappointed that several of our students chose to disregard the school's rules. It's disheartening when any student has to be suspended or expelled and it's a process that involves serious review and consideration. We will not tolerate a violation of school policy and dishonesty. We insist on maintaining a campus environment that commands mutual respect, fosters academic excellence and encourages learners to fulfill their best potential."

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4 Comments

It's a shame that people take advantage of each other even in the most positive, protected environments. It is also discouraging that more was not done to protect and nuture the children. But let's remember that this is only the beginning and over time things will get better. This leadership academy is the best chance for so many potential leaders.

This is surely a special place that I would like to see first hand when visiting South Africa during the 2010 World Cup. Perhaps they will participate in a program to welcome tourist of the big soccer tournament next summer.

It's a shame that people take advantage of each other even in the most positive, protected environments. It is also discouraging that more was not done to protect and nuture the children. But let's remember that this is only the beginning and over time things will get better. This leadership academy is the best chance for so many potential leaders.

This is surely a special place that I would like to see first hand when visiting South Africa during the 2010 World Cup. Perhaps they will participate in a program to welcome tourist of the big soccer tournament next summer.

Hi i am Chantel Clarke aStudent at Tallwood High School and we watched what you did for the kids in Africa. That was really nice of you .The movie was very powerful and it also mad me cry.I think you are a powerful woman , those kids are brave and thankful.You are a good person for what you did.

THANK YOU
Sincerely, Chantel Clarke

This is not a sex scandal. It's simply teenagers having sex. It's part of life. The media will jump any excuse to harass a successful black woman.

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This page contains a single entry by Admin published on March 31, 2009 8:26 AM.

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