Oprah offers counselling after dead baby debacle

The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls was providing counselling services to pupils at the school after the body of a newborn baby was found last week.

“We are awaiting the outcome of the police investigation while at the same time respecting and protecting the learner’s privacy,” Oprah Winfrey’s Harpo Communications said in a statement released on behalf of the academy.

“The Academy strives to ensure the health and wellbeing of all our learners and we are providing counselling services accordingly.”

The body of the newborn baby was found after a 17-year-old gave birth to it on Wednesday, Gauteng police said last week.

The police did not know how the baby had died.

“Yes, the girl gave birth to the baby at the school, but we can’t confirm what happened to it. A case of concealment of death is being investigated,” said Captain Shado Mashobane.

The 17-year-old girl, who was a pupil at the school just outside Johannesburg, was taken to the Midvaal Hospital in Meyerton.

Beeld newspaper on Friday reported that the baby’s body was found in a plastic bag filled with bloodied clothes after the girl was taken to hospital.

The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls was established in South Africa by the US talk show host in January 2007 to offer education opportunities to poor children.

The school was also in the news in October 2007, when a matron at the dormitory was accused of sexually abusing some of the girls.

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