Talk show host Oprah Winfrey
An incident of sexual harassment has been reported at Oprah’s Leadership Academy for girls – the second in less than a year.
Seven pupils have been suspended for allegedly being involved in sexual activities with other students. The girls were accused of touching other students in an inappropriate manner and forcing other students to be in relationships with one another.
Oprah’s spokesperson, Lisa Halliday, confirmed from Chicago that the girls had been suspended. “It is because they contravened the school’s code of conduct. We regard the incident as confidential.”
One of the accused, Lebohang Hinne (15), received a letter shortly before school began, stating that: “You have been found guilty of physical contact of a sexual nature with another pupil on campus, harassment, bullying other girls on campus and of being dishonest by not telling investigators the whole truth.”
In 2007, a similar incident involving the school matron – who faced 13 charges including indecent assault, common assault, assaulting a minor to perform an indecent act and verbal abuse of pupils – resulted in the school’s headmistress being fired and Oprah giving her cell phone number to every single student at the academy.
“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,” Winfrey said in a statement.