Teen’s Newborn Baby Found Dead at Oprah’s School

by Leslie Pitterson

Oprah’s school for girls in South Africa has seen its share of problems, but this one may be the most tragic yet.  Johannesburg police are currently investigating whether or not to file charges after a dead newborn was found on the grounds of the Oprah Winfrey Academy on Friday night.

This morning the school put out a statement saying it was complying with police investigation and providing counseling for the girls in the wake of the tragic discovery.  The newborn belonged to a pregnant teen who attended the academy.  Though it is confirmed that she did give birth to the child Wednesday at the academy, it remains unclear what happened afterwards.

According to Sowetan Live:

It is alleged that the pupil gave birth in the school and hid her dead baby in her school bag.  Police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Lungelo Dlamini said the girl was hospitalised after one of the employees at the school noticed that she was “bleeding excessively”

“After a thorough check-up it was confirmed that the pupil had given birth,” Dlamini said.  Sowetan has learnt that at first the pupil denied that she had given birth. But after interrogation by the police she confessed. It is also alleged that she told nurses that she did not know what had happened to her baby.  The girl allegedly fell pregnant after she slept with her boyfriend while away at home during the Fifa 2010 World Cup.

With the details still forthcoming, there is no way to make a clear call on what actually happened.  From initial reports, the baby’s mother has been cast in a questionable light, but we should remember not to make this tragedy into an opportunity for baseless assumptions.

Teen pregnancy has long been an issue in South Africa.  In 2007, the United Nations estimated that one in three girls in South Africa became pregnant before the age of 20.  Though the rates have dropped since then, some analysts attributed much of the decline to terminated pregnancies.  While the government has increased spending on HIV/AIDS and birth control awareness, the issue continues to be one of the country’s most pressing gender issues.  Not only are the young mother’s faced with social stigma and discrimination, a report from South Africa’s Parlimentary Monitory Group found that the teen mothers were more prone to drop out of school, lack the education needed for economic stability and then pass the cycle on to their own children, as their children were less likely to complete secondary school as well.

This tragedy is the latest controversy facing Oprah’s academy.  In 2007, a supervisor was charged with fondling students and sexually assaulting them.  She was put on probation after spending five days in jail and was cleared of charges last October.

With their embattled past, this moment surely does not bode well for Oprah, her academy and most importantly the girls who attend it.  It remains to be seen, what all of this will mean for its future.

  • julienne

    sooo tragic! :(

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jessica-Mercedes/100000081211233 Jessica Mercedes

    This story isnt unlike stories Ive heard about teens here in the states. Its especially sad that these are young women who are considered to be elite as far as academics are concerned. The pressure and stigma of being a teen mom was obviously just too much to bear. I got pregnant with my first child when I was 16 years old, and I still cant think of what could have prevented me from making such a foolish decision.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ludmilla-Paul/2613876 Ludmilla Paul

    “The girl allegedly fell pregnant after she slept with her boyfriend while away at home during the Fifa 2010 World Cup”…..was this statement really neccesary?????

  • Jacquie

    I was thinking the same darn thing… WTH kind of statement is that?!?!?!????

  • zy

    I can’t even imagine how scared she was while going through this. she probably was afraid she might be kicked out of the school. it’s horrible that she felt she couldn’t talk to anyone and get help. extremely tragic.

  • so happy

    I am so happy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Oprah did a comendable thing to help the little black and biracial black girls in Africa! But, I want to know why she didnt help the little black and black biracial girls with a school in New Jersey or Chicago? One school made like a boarding school where many black girls that wanted the opportunity in the us could have had the chance. But, if that never happens no matter. However, I am so happy she did it for the girls in south africa! Best wishes to the one who take advantage and i have no comment on the child who didnt. I may not watch oprah shows but I commend her for her good deed.

  • wonderful

    I may not agree with everything she does and has done that there is one thing she did that really urked me but alot of ppl in hollywood did t with her. wont go into that. but i am so happy that she open the school and i love the things she does for people all over! That is great!

  • modern lady

    I’m sorry, how many strange, crazy stories are going to come from Oprah’s school before someone, a parent, a govt. official, someone-starts to question the school and make them more accountable. If I heard that the school my child was attending had 2 sex abuse scandals and a teen giving birth to a still born, I’d be looking for another school or teach the child myself. It’s unfortunate most of these girls don’t have other options.

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