Lawsuit: Kanye West Academy Only Fed Students Sushi

Former teachers say bullying was rife at rapper's 'chaotic' Donda Academy
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 7, 2023 3:15 PM CDT
Lawsuit: Kanye West Academy Only Fed Students Sushi
In this 2019 photo, Kanye West answers questions during a service at Lakewood Church, in Houston.   (AP Photo/Michael Wyke, File)

Life at Kanye West's Donda Academy was as weird as the words "Kanye West" would lead you to expect, according to a lawsuit from a mother and daughter who say they were fired as teachers at the private Christian academy after reporting numerous violations of safety and educational standards. Among their claims:

  • All-sushi diet. "Throughout the entirety of Plaintiffs' employment, the only lunch available for students was sushi, every single day," the lawsuit states, per People. "Students were not allowed to bring any outside food or anything other than water."
  • All-black dress code. Students were required to dress in black from head to toe, according to the lawsuit. "Only West's issued or designed apparel was allowed to be worn. Nike and Adidas brands were forbidden," it states.

  • Scared of stairs, dislikes chairs. The lawsuit alleges that classes were not allowed on the second floor of the Simi Valley, California, school because West is "afraid of stairs," TMZ reports. It also states that West "did not allow chairs, so children had to sit on foam cushions or stand, and teachers had to stand or use a stool."
  • No jewelry or crosswords. The lawsuit also states that the academy banned jewelry, crossword puzzles, and coloring sheets, and did not allow artwork to be hung on the walls.
In other, more disturbing allegations, Cecilia Hailey and daughter Chekarey Byers say there was no school nurse or cleaning staff and medications were stored in an unlocked closet. They say there were no disciplinary procedures in place, which led to a "lack of safety" and frequent bullying incidents. They say the "chaotic" academy failed to meet state educational standards "for students in need of educational services, additional testing, or individualized learning plans."

"There was absolutely no rules or structure for discipline, so the kids could kind of do whatever they wanted and nothing was done about it, which is not effective because kids like order," Hailey tells NBC Los Angeles. Hailey and Byers say they were told they were being "aggressive" when they raised their concerns with the principal and they were abruptly fired last month. The mother and daughter, who say they were the only female Black teachers at the school, claim they were discriminated against. They are seeking compensation for lost wages and emotional distress. (More Kanye West stories.)

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