- The Washington Times - Monday, March 12, 2007

Doin’ time at O’s school

Upset parents of students at Oprah Winfrey’s posh all-girls academy near Johannesburg say its strict rules make the schoolhouse seem like the big house.

According to a report by South Africa’s news24.com, cell phones and e-mail correspondence are prohibited during the week, and the girls are only allowed to phone their parents on weekends. The maximum number of visitors per pupil is four, and visits have to be approved by the school at least two weeks in advance. Parents are not allowed to smuggle junk food past the matrons to the girls, and they also say the school rules make it difficult for them to keep in contact with their children.

Frances Mans, foster mother of Gweneth Mulder, said last week she would take her daughter out of the school if the rules were not changed. Miss Mans said she had to wait at the security gate for half an hour to be signed in when she went to visit her daughter.

“It was a nightmare. Surely this isn’t a prison or an institution?” Miss Mans says. Angela Conradie, whose daughter Michelle is at the school, says she’s just as upset. “Michelle phones me in tears sometimes, and then I don’t know what to say to her,” Miss Conradie says.

But John Samuels, the executive head of the school, says he sees nothing wrong with the system.

“We have the security and well-being of the girls at heart, in every respect. They are our priority. If there’s too much movement on the premises at the weekend, it disturbs the school spirit.”

Sly’s Down Under woes

Sylvester Stallone will be charged with customs offenses in an Australian court today, says Agence France-Presse, citing a report from the country’s national news agency.

Customs officials refused to give details of the charges against the actor, who was briefly detained after a search of his luggage at Sydney airport on Feb. 19 as he arrived in Australia to promote his latest movie, “Rocky Balboa.” At the time, customs officers said banned items — reportedly bodybuilding drugs or human growth hormones — were found in the Stallone party’s luggage. Mr. Stallone has insisted his run-in with customs was simply a misunderstanding.


ASCAP, the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, will honor Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Stevie Wonder with its American Troubadour Award during a VIP event tonight on Capitol Hill. Performers include Ashford & Simpson, India.Arie, Tony Bennett, Wyclef Jean, Wynonna Judd, Chaka Khan, Brian McKnight, Dianne Reeves, Smokey Robinson, Jon Faddis and Joan Osborne.

Swedes detain Snoop in Sweden on suspicion of using illegal narcotics but was released after questioning and drug tests, Associated Press reports.

A small amount of narcotics also was found in the car, but Matts Brannlund of the Stockholm police could not specify which kind of drug and said it was unclear whether it belonged to Snoop Dogg.

Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from staff wire reports.

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