Two former teachers at Kanye West’s Donda Academy are suing the school, alleging labor violations in addition to restrictive and unusual school rules for teachers and students.
Among other allegations, the lawsuit claims that the children were only allowed to eat sushi, the school had no janitorial services, and that West would not allow teachers or students to wear any jewelry. The teachers also allege the school did not meet Department of Education requirements or comply with state regulations, and did not require teachers to have basic life support certification or mandatory reporting training.
The lawsuit was filed Thursday by third-grade teacher Cecilia Hailey and fifth-grade teacher Chekeri Byers, who both worked at Donda Academy from January to March 2023. On March 3, 2023, Hailey and Byers were expelled from the Donda Academy without any reason. For them, according to the lawsuit, which is claiming state labor code violations. He believes that he has been fired in retaliation for complaining to the school administration.
Both teachers say they complained about health and safety violations, including a lack of a disciplinary system. They alleged in the lawsuit that their complaints were not taken seriously and that Moira Love, the principal of Donda Academy, called two of them “aggressive”.
According to the lawsuit, Haley and Byers were the only black teachers at the school. “I’m just tired of the rhetoric that Black women who are capable are seen as offensive,” Haley said in a press release.
Donda Academy, as well as an attorney for West, did not immediately return BuzzFeed News’ request for comment.
Byers also claims in the lawsuit that he never received his first paycheck and that his and Haley’s salaries would often be less than $1,800 to $2,700 per pay period.
“Kanye West is clearly just as bad at running a school as he is at managing his personal and professional life, enabling an unsafe and illegal school environment for students who have been involved with Plaintiffs on the basis of their race.” but discriminates,” Ron Zambrano, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said in a press release. “These serious violations at Donda Academy are just another example of West’s abnormal behavior, and our clients will not stand for it, regardless of their celebrity status. Kanye needs to realize that his talent lies in making music , not in school administration.
West, which legally changed its name to In 2021, Donda Academy opened for the first time in 2022 and now serves as its CEO, Secretary and CFO. Donda Academy is a Forbidden Private Christian school for students from pre-kindergarten through grade 12.
The lawsuit also alleges a number of strict and unusual rules at the academy. The lawsuit claims that no crosswords or coloring sheets were allowed. There were reportedly no classes on the second floor because West was afraid of stairs. Students were not allowed to use forks, and all cups and bowls had to be grey. No color or artwork was reportedly allowed in the classes, and students were required to wear Western-designed garb in black from head to toe. Brands such as Nike and Adidas were banned, according to the lawsuit.
West did not allow any chairs at the school, the lawsuit claims, and children had to sit or stand on foam cushions, while teachers had to stand or use stools. Students reportedly had to eat their lunch on the floor as there were no tables, and recess was indoors as students were not allowed to go outside.
“I am deeply saddened about all of this,” Byers said in a news release. It was such a great honor and privilege for Kanye West to work at the Donda Academy. I’m a big fan of Kanye. His was the first album I ever bought. I still enjoy his music, and I’ll never deny his talent, but while his vision for the school looks great on paper, it’s just chaos and rebellion. It’s like a mental hospital run by patients.