Expelled Students at Oprah School Claim Confinement

Published April 8, 2009

Four youths recently kicked out of Oprah Winfrey's South African school say they were jailed in their dorm rooms on campus for two weeks before being dismissed.

The girls tell The Star of Capetown newspaper that guards stood on post and kept them from attending classes during the time that they were investigated for allegedly forcing other students into sex acts. Meals were brought to the suspected students' rooms at the Oprah Leadership Academy for Girls, but at least one says she never ate.

"I asked myself, 'What's the point?'" she reportedly told The Star. "I'm going to be expelled anyway." The students were not identified by name, but at least one 15-year-old admits to lesbian contact with her schoolmates: "If they say I was touching other learners, it's true.. No one complained to me about it.

Obviously, if you touch someone, if they are uncomfortable they will tell you." Lisa Halliday, a school spokesman, called the dorm confinement "in-school suspension" and says it was for the suspected girls' safety. On March 26, the students were told by security to pack their belongings minus clothes, phones and shoes provided by the school.

The incident marked the second time that alleged sexual misbehavior on the campus brought embarrassment to Winfrey. A former staff member last year was charged with molesting students.

Written by BET.com News Staff

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