Rapper Kanye West’s private Christian school, Donda Academy, reportedly has some serious issues to work out, if the allegations against it are to be believed.
A black woman, Cecilia Hailey, and her daughter, Chekarey Byers — both of them former teachers at Donda Academy — have sued West, the school, and the school district over alleged racial discrimination and wrongful termination.
They “say they were fired from teaching positions at the school for two reasons — retaliation for sounding the alarm on alleged education, health and safety code violations — and for their race,” according to TMZ.
“[T]he women say they were the only black teachers employed by Donda Academy when they were hired full-time earlier this year … and they say it didn’t take long for them to notice numerous health and safety violations, unlawful educational practices and extremely unusual rules at Kanye’s school,” TMZ reported Thursday.
This suit against Donda Academy alleges Kanye West forbid crossword puzzles, coloring books, and chairs at the school, and that he’s scared of stairs and wouldn’t allow classes on the 2° floor. Also children and staff were physically locked inside all day.https://t.co/2drpvBQ6a9 pic.twitter.com/icA1g4ccjb
— Aura Bogado (@aurabogado) April 7, 2023
Speaking with Page Six, Hailey said, for example, that West had evidently banned “black history” books from the school.
“Kanye didn’t want anything to do with a lot of black history books. There was one book called ‘The Lost Boys of Sudan’ that was banned because one of the parents got shot in the book. But the kids were reading ‘Harry Potter’ and there are murders in [those] books. Kanye wanted nothing to do with history, I was told,” she said.
Hailey repeated the same complaint to the Los Angeles Times.
“They definitely wanted to suppress a lot of information in reference to history. They didn’t want the kids to know really about African American history or Asian American history,” she said, adding that the Holocaust was also not taught there.
According to Hailey, the food West fed the school’s students was also questionable.
“There was no breakfast. You had young kids eating raw sushi and cucumber rolls every day. A lot of the kids didn’t like it and that’s all they had. This is not a nutritional meal. There are state guidelines and nobody paid attention. I thought it was not only rude, but cruel,” she told Page Six.
Meanwhile, the employee turnover rate was apparently very bad.
“The kids had so many changes, so many teachers. I was like the fourth or fifth they had in the third grade, and they had had 10 principals in three years. It wasn’t that the kids were bad. It was that there was so much disruption,” Hailey said.
There was also very little, if any, school discipline. If was so bad that after a 5th-grader slapped an 8th-grader in the face, “no action was taken.”
“The teachers recommended the child be expelled but nothing was done. The explanation was that Kanye wants certain marginalized kids in school, but this was a kid who assaulted people and didn’t need to be around other children,” Hailey said.
But while there were seemingly no rules barring violence, there were reportedly 1,001 rules concerning the most trivial, trite matters.
“[T]he teachers claim Kanye did not allow crossword puzzles or coloring sheets at Donda Academy, classes could not take place on the second floor because Kanye is ‘afraid of stairs,’ and Ye didn’t want children using forks or utensils,” according to TMZ.
“The suit alleges Kanye did not allow artwork to be hung on walls, and no one was allowed to wear jewelry … simply because he ‘did not like jewelry.’ The teachers even claim Kanye didn’t allow chairs, forcing children to sit on foam cushions or stand, while teachers were relegated to standing or using a stool.”
But it gets worse.
Everybody was reportedly required to wear all black, Nike and Adidas clothes were banned, and the school doors were locked from the outside during the school day, meaning nobody could leave until school was over for the day.
But it gets even worse.
The school reportedly had no janitor or nurse. There were reportedly no trash cans either outside classrooms or in the kitchen. Student medications were stored haphazardly and often alongside expired medications. And there were no formal lesson plans.
When Hailey and her daughter tried to reach out to West to complain, they were told to never contact him. And so then they tried reaching out to then-principal Moira Love, but to no avail, with Love accusing them of being “aggressive.”
“The pair were also shorted up to $2,700 per paycheck, they allege,” according to the Times.
It’s not clear whether the paycheck shorting happened because of their complaints. All that’s known is that as the two women arrived for work sometime last month, they were met in the parking lot and told they’d been fired.
“I believe that, unfortunately, the school needs to shut down. The kids need to be home schooled because it’s so late in the semester — and get actual grades and transcripts so they can transfer to another school. At the moment, they’re making a mess of these children,” Hailey said to Page Six.
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