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After her spa trip, Oprah flew to South Africa to see her students at the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls—South Africa. While she was abroad, a story questioning whether the school was too strict hit the news. "I was very surprised to hear this," Oprah says. "I have to have rules to protect the girls."

"Many of you parents probably realize this in schools in the United States: The cell phones were killing us in the class. And obviously so many of the girls could not afford the cell phones, but some of them, their parents could. And so I had the cell phones removed from class," Oprah says. "I have restrictions on who can come to the school, and when you come to the school, you have to be cleared because I do not want people coming onto the campus that could do harm to our girls. And so we have rules and we have regulations and I believe that those rules and regulations are working. The girls are happy. Some are gaining weight and some are losing weight, because for the first time in their lives they have regular meals and are eating healthy food. So for all of you who are asking the question or debating about it … I stand by the rules at the school. They are not too strict."

Oprah also says the quotes from the two disappointed parents are from interviews that were conducted weeks ago when the school first opened. "The truth of the matter is, the parents themselves, who I personally spoke to, said that they said to the reporter, 'Yes, the school is strict, but it's also fair, and the girls are really thriving there,'" Oprah says. "So they tell me that all that they said was not actually printed in the paper."
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FROM: Letters to Oprah 2007
Published on March 26, 2007

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