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Oprah's Leadership Academy
Posted by: Hope ()
Date: March 18, 2007 10:52AM

Oprah's self-celebrated Leadership Academy is only months old and already parents have aired concerns. This is the second report of parent's dissatisfaction. The first, a student was not allowed to leave to attend a family member's funeral. One can understand restricting comings and goings, but parents seem to have valid complaints.

News 24

Published: March 12, 2007 at 2:50 PM Email Story | Print Preview | License

Oprah's school rules concern parents
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, March 12 (UPI) -- Some of the rules at the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy in South Africa have parents wondering about the facility where their daughters live.

Parents said the rules make it difficult for them to keep in contact with their children at the school near Johannesburg, News24 said.

The parents were to voice their concerns during a satellite-linked conversation with Winfrey, but the school's governing body canceled it.

The rules restrict visits to once a month, no cell phones or e-mail correspondence during the week -- and only phone calls with parents on weekends -- and no more than four visitors a month.

One parent said she would take her daughter out of the school if the rules weren't changed. She said she had to wait about 30 minutes at the gate to register before being allowed to visit her daughter for two hours.

John Samuels, the executive of the school, said he sees nothing wrong.

"We have the security and well-being of the girls at heart, in every respect," he said. "If there's too much movement on the premises at the weekend, it disturbs the school spirit

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Oprah's Leadership Academy
Posted by: cultreporter ()
Date: March 27, 2007 08:27PM

Sounds scary as hell to me.

Oprah has far too much power for one person and it looks like she has found a way to indulge it here.

These girls are being taken out of their culture put into a very different Americanised way of living when they were selected being based on being intelligent and underprivelidged. It would be a very big change in their young lives and now they are being kept away from their families?

What sort of "Leadership" qualities does she aim to bestow by tearing apart the family unit?

Add to this if it was a true act of comapassion with the millions of dollars that she has and the amount that she has invested in this place why step over all those underprivelidged deemed not so bright girls?

I think this is definitely worth watching.

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Oprah's Leadership Academy
Posted by: skippypb ()
Date: April 23, 2007 02:02AM

I say give Oprah a chance to respond before attacking her. Remember that the day-to-day running of the school is out of Oprah's immediate sight. To act like Oprah is intentionally doing something wrong is a vicious attack on someone who has done so much for people. Unless we know that Oprah is aware of a problem and doesn't care, we can't pin it all on her. We need more details on why visitation is a security risk. Don't forget that Oprah has a lot of money and these girls may be targets for extortion. Not everyone is evil.

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Oprah's Leadership Academy
Posted by: hampton ()
Date: May 02, 2007 02:30PM

Oprah was on Larry King tonight responding to two parents' criticism about the school. She said that she called the parents and told them that if they didn't like it they could come and pick up their daughter any time. I appreciate that Oprah is trying to help the education of girls in South Africa, but the "my way or the highway" approach and the rules that are in place at the school, which separate the girls from their families, seems a little disconcerting.

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Oprah's Leadership Academy
Posted by: highrise ()
Date: May 15, 2007 06:55PM

I'm skeptical of ANYONE who keeps the family away..whether that be oprah or anyone else. That is just hands down WEIRD. REmember, she didn't have a great family life and was sexually messed with...and doesn't hav she doesn't quite know the extent of having a family means.

Bear that in mind.

I think this is messed up imo and diminishes my opinion of her.

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Oprah's Leadership Academy
Posted by: cultreporter ()
Date: May 25, 2007 02:19PM

I was watching her show today and fully half of it was dedicated to people thriled at how great she is, including a high school geography teachers that has kept a chair in her classroom for five years reserved for Oprah to sit in and a group of friends that took an effigy of Oprah on their European holiday. One of the students of the teacher wrote in about how much she just loved Oprah and how she had this chair and it was sent overnight to the studio so that Oprah could finally park her holier than thou butt in it and the teacher seemed to pee herself with the thrill of it all. How on Earth has the woman managed to garner such a following and why does she encourage it? I used to think she was a good person eventhough I am not a fan of the show, I respected the charity work that she did and especaily the reward money that she put up to help catch child sex abusers. The media reports about the opening of the school talked about how she was fulfilling a promise that she made to Nelson Mandela that she would set up a school for girls and how they had been living in little shanties that didnt even have hot water and one toilet for several families. It is really hard to imagine how any parents could pick up their girls from a place that is providing them with luxury compared to what their options were before, paying for all their expenses, providing food clothing and medical care. It sounds to me like the stolen generation of the Aboriginal peope in Australia where many parents were induced to give their children away thinking that in doing so they were going to be provided with a better life. I wonder about what organisations may be in South Africa and possibly in a position to observe what is going on and if there is any chance that there is more to be told on this story.

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Re: Oprah's Leadership Academy
Posted by: Hope ()
Date: November 02, 2007 06:56AM

From - Ms. Hine is the mother of the girl who has made allegations of physical abuse at the hands of a dorm parent at Oprah's school in Africa.

"Hine attended an emergency meeting with Winfrey when the talk-show host came to the school two weeks ago.

"She was emotional, she was crying when she was talking about her daughters. It is not our daughters anymore, it is Oprah's daughters," Hine said.

Winfrey did not give the parents details of the allegations other than to say that the dormitory parent "didn't treat the girls the way she likes," Hine said. She said parents were told at the start of the meeting that Winfrey "does not want the thing to be in the media. It was a private meeting."

The controversy that now surrounds the school now offers a sharp contrast to the glitter and air of limitless hope when Winfrey brought a gaggle of Hollywood stars with her to officially open the well-appointed school. The criminal probe was opened after a team of three American experts hired by Winfrey gave police the results of their initial investigation, police said.

"We came to the conclusion that there were criminal elements and then we opened the case for investigation," said Police Superintendent Lungelo Dlamini.

Dlamini told CNN that the team of U.S. experts hired by Winfrey to conduct the internal investigation included Robert Farley, a retired Cook County, Illinois, detective. He said two American social workers were also on the team.

Previously, Winfrey -- who has spoken publicly about the abuse she suffered as a child -- issued a statement on October 17 saying, "Nothing is more serious or devastating to me than an allegation of misconduct by an adult against any girl at the academy."

In the statement, Samuel said South African child protection services were notified and the dorm parent was removed from the campus.

"We have engaged professional investigators of the highest standing from South Africa and the United States to conduct a fair and impartial inquiry into these claims," the statement said."

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Re: Oprah's Leadership Academy
Posted by: Hope ()
Date: November 03, 2007 02:03AM

By Michael Georgy
2 hours, 22 minutes ago

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South African police have arrested a former dormitory employee at Oprah Winfrey's leadership academy for girls on charges of abuse, including indecent acts.

At least seven alleged victims have submitted statements about the woman, police said.

"A former dormitory employee (27) has been arrested yesterday by the Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Unit on several charges of abuse," a statement from police spokesman Superintendent Lungelo Dlamini read.

"Several charges including alleged assault, indecent assault, crimen injuria and soliciting girls under age to perform indecent acts are being investigated against her. At least seven victims have already submitted statements."

The suspect is being held by police and is expected to appear before a magistrate on Monday, said the statement.

A spokeswoman in Chicago for U.S. billionaire television magnate Winfrey said there was no one immediately available for comment.

The $40 million academy has been dogged by controversy since it opened in January with a launch attended by singers Mariah Carey and Tina Turner, actor Sydney Poitier and filmmaker Spike Lee.

Winfrey selected the first class of 152 poor, mostly black pupils to attend the school that boasts state-of-the-art facilities including laboratories, a yoga studio and beauty salon.

Tuition and board is free. The academy provides its 450 students with textbooks, uniforms and meals.


In March, some parents complained the school was too strict and its restrictions on visits, phone calls and email contact were comparable to rules in prisons.

In May, some parents complained their children were not allowed junk food and, when they visited the school, they had to go through a security gate.

Crimen injuria refers to the crime of injuring another person's dignity. This can cover racial abuse and sexual offences against children.

"We would like to thank a team of experts appointed by the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls who compiled a misconduct report which was later handed to the police," said the police statement.

"The report assisted members of the police to speed up investigations, that is, victims as well as the suspect were already identified."

South Africa's Rapport newspaper had reported that Winfrey had flown to meet parents and school officials, and asked for forgiveness for letting them down.

The residential academy is situated on 52 acres (21 hectares) at Henley-on-Klip, south of Johannesburg.

Reporters who visited the school after reports of abuse were published were denied access to children and administrators.

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Re: Oprah's Leadership Academy
Posted by: The Anticult ()
Date: November 09, 2007 09:24PM

This entire thing does not make any logical sense at all.
Oprah said this school was the #1 thing in her life, then ignores the kids complaints for months?
15 kids were harmed? That place just opened, and all of these kids get harmed?
Then Oprah goes there and "acts surpised" the place is being run like a typical boarding school prison camp?
That does NOT make any sense.

It sounds more like Oprah had designed and implemented a fanatical LGAT style "bootcamp" for kids, like some type of massive Dr. Phil House, or LGAT Seminar that goes on for months, where everyone has to "face their issues" etc.
That would explain why she ignored them for months, as she may have thought "its part of the process".
This is a typcial "bootcamp" idea, similar to an LGAT, where people get isolated and "Transformed".
But its all bullshit, it always leads to abuse.

I don't believe what Oprah is saying, it sounds like a way to get out of being sued.
How could she leave kids trapped in there for months, with all of the negative media reports?
Its not credible.

Of course, no person in the media will seriously criticize Oprah and risk getting hurt, but this guy walks a fine line, and he says some good things.

Oprah's School and Tough Love

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Re: Oprah's Leadership Academy
Posted by: Hope ()
Date: November 09, 2007 09:50PM

Not only that, but when she had her press conference to discuss the situation, it was all about her, again. She stated that this is the worst thing that ever happened to her. What about the poor little girls who've experienced the abuse?

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