Kanye West’s Christian prep school, Donda Academy, is under fire due to details emerging from a new lawsuit filed by two of the school’s former teachers. Claiming that the school is guilty of “multiple health and safety violations, as well as unlawful educational practices,” the lawsuit describes an environment that is disorganized, chaotic, and potentially harmful.
The allegations come from Cecilia Hailey and Chekarey Byers, who were both teachers at the academy and allege that they were fired earlier this year for trying to address their concerns for students’ well-being. Among their complaints are claims that teachers are underpaid, that the school has no “proper disciplinary system” or janitorial services, that medical access are subpar, and that West forbade all food or drink except for sushi and water. The suit even goes on to claim that West personally spends “$10,000 a week” on sushi.
Beyond the “strictly sushi” diet, West also “did not allow color in the classrooms or artwork hung on the walls” and ensured that all uniforms were all-black, and all cups and bowls were gray. West also allegedly forbade any cleaning product “containing chemicals,” which presumably worsened the sanitation issues caused by the non-existent janitorial department. He even disallowed chairs, meaning “children had to sit on foam cushion or stand, and teachers had to stand or use a stool.” The stools could’ve been great business for Christopher Guest’s Blaine, Missouri, but it admittedly makes for an unideal schooling environment.
“I’m extremely sad about all of this,” Byers said in a statement. “It was such a huge honor and privilege to work at Donda Academy for Kanye West… I still enjoy his music, and I’ll never deny his talent, but while his vision for the school sounds great on paper, it’s just pure chaos and mutiny. It’s like a mental hospital being run by the patients.”
Donda Academy was first announced in 2022, and had already built up an impressive amount of controversy before these allegations surfaced. The school sells itself as an innovative approach to education in a “post-iPhone” world, focusing on spirituality and creativity… but it lacks accreditation, and has a steep tuition cost. There are even reports that parents have to sign non-disclosure agreements, though singer Keyshia Cole (who briefly sent her son to the school) claims that no such agreement was ever presented to her. Last fall, the school even abruptly closed for the year, then reversed the decision and reopened the following day.
While the outcome of this lawsuit is to be determined, the chaotic headlines that follow in the wake of West’s actions are sure to keep coming. Last year, the rapper was under fire for his anti-semitic comments, but just a few weeks ago reversed course, claiming that Jonah Hill’s performance in 21 Jump Street made him “like Jewish people” again.