A former teacher at Kanye West's private school claims that when she complained about kids left hungry from sushi-only lunch, she was told 'this is what Ye wants'

A former teacher at Kanye West's private school claims that when she complained about kids left hungry from sushi-only lunch, she was told 'this is what Ye wants'
  • A former teacher who was fired from Donda Academy described a chaotic environment to Insider.

  • Cecilia Hailey and her daughter, also a former teacher, sued Ye and the school for wrongful termination.

  • Hailey told Insider that students went hungry due to the sushi-only nutrition plan at the school.

A former teacher who is suing Ye, the artist formally known as Kanye West, and his Donda Academy said that the rapper's constantly changing vision for the school was prioritized ahead of students' health in a new lawsuit.

In an interview with Insider, Cecilia Hailey, the plaintiff, described a chaotic environment at Donda Academy with "control freak" wealthy, music producer parents, no school nurse, and students falling behind in their education and nutrition.

Hailey and her daughter Chekarey Byers, also a teacher there, sued Ye and Donda Academy in a civil lawsuit filed last week, claiming that they were both fired in March. They claimed seven labor code and discrimination violations, including wrongful termination.

They claim in the suit that after raising several issues with the school, they were retaliated against and terminated. The two are asking for unspecified damages.

Representatives for Ye and Donda Academy did not respond to requests for comment.

'This is what Ye wants'

In the lawsuit, the two say that Ye spent $10,000 daily on a sushi lunch for students. In an interview with Insider, Hailey said that the school's decision to only serve sushi and a few pieces of fruit throughout the day left many students hungry, but the lunch setup continued because of Ye.

"Kids were not given or offered breakfast, they were given a small snack in the morning, a little bit of fruit, and then for lunch they only had sushi — they had raw salmon or a cucumber sushi and soy sauce, every day," Hailey told Insider, adding that it was not a "sushi bar," with many choices. "A lot of kids did not like sushi, and so they wouldn't eat and we did encourage parents to send lunch with their kids — most parents did not, so some kids went hungry all day."

Hailey, a third-generation educator, started working at Donda in November 2022, and her daughter was separately hired by the school in January 2023, per the lawsuit. Hailey said in the interview that she told the principal the nutrition at the school was not adequate, reinforcing claims made in the complaint that the plaintiffs told administrators that the school "was not following nutrition guidelines."

When she showed the principal "the state guidelines of what constitutes a balanced meal, her response was: 'this is what Ye wants,'" Hailey told Insider.

The lawsuit filed by Hailey and Byers also claims there was a "lack of safety" at Donda Academy, as well as "multiple health and safety violations, and unlawful educational practices."

A representative for Donda Academy and a lawyer for Ye did not immediately return Insider's requests for comment.

One teacher taught 5th through 8th grades for a period of time

Hailey told Insider that when she started in November, one teacher was teaching fifth through eighth grades until substitutes were brought in. Throughout three years, the school has cycled through 10 principals, Hailey claimed in the interview.

"Ye's vision kept changing — one minute he wanted a farm school, and another minute he wanted a STEM school, and then one minute he wanted a fashion school," Hailey told Insider. "It's chaotic and just when you start to get things in order, it goes back to chaos."

On October 27, 2022, Donda administrators claimed the school was closing and quickly reversed the decision to close that same day. In November 2022, Insider reported that the school had also secretly moved to a different location a year prior.

The timing of the supposed closure came weeks after numerous antisemitic tirades by Ye, as well as a false claim he pushed that George Floyd had died of a drug overdose.

Hailey told Insider that by March, the school had made so many poor administrative changes that she was confused as to why parents even wanted their kids there.

A handful of families wanted better for their kids

"We had 2 to 3 families that were very dedicated to wanting their kids to learn and wanting academic standards to be stricter and better. My question to them was, 'Why do you have your kids here? Your kids are needing more than Donda is able to offer,'" Hailey told Insider. "That was always my question: did they have their kids there because they were attached to a celebrity?"

That month, Hailey and Byers alleged in their suit that they were fired in the school parking lot and given no reason for it.

They had both created a loving, productive bond with their students, as well as a good rapport with parents, Hailey said to Insider.

"I've been sad because I miss my kids, very attached to my class," Hailey said. "I worry about them and I pray for them every day that things will get better."

Read the original article on Insider