/ 18 October 2007

Dorm parent suspended at Oprah’s school

A dormitory parent at Oprah Winfrey’s school has been suspended for misconduct, the school announced on Wednesday.

”The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls has initiated an internal inquiry based on one serious claim of misconduct involving a dorm parent at the Academy,” said John Samuel, chief executive at the school at Henley-on-Klip, south of Johannesburg.

He said the person had been ”removed” from the campus and immediate action had been taken to ensure the safety and well-being of the pupils.

He said the child protection services had been notified.

”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,” he said.

The inquiry was being conducted with minimal disruption to campus life and pupils were receiving counselling.

He said the head of the academy and the academy administration had mutually decided that the head should take a paid leave of absence in order to ensure an impartial investigation.

The head of the academy was not the person allegedly involved in the incident of misconduct.

Samuel would not disclose any personal information about the dormitory parent or the details of the allegation.

Oprah Winfrey said she was concerned about the allegations.

”Nothing is more serious or devastating to me than an allegation of misconduct by an adult against any girl at the academy.

”I will do everything within my power to ensure their safety and wellbeing,” Winfrey said in a statement.

Vaal police spokesperson Inspector Trudi Wilken said police were investigating a case of misconduct. – Sapa