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2 former teachers sue Kanye West and Donda Academy, allege wrongful termination

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(LOS ANGELES) — Two former teachers at Kanye West’s Donda Academy are suing the recording artist and entrepreneur and California private school, alleging they were wrongfully terminated after raising concerns about the institution’s practices.


According to a lawsuit filed Thursday in Los Angeles County Superior Court, Cecilia Hailey started working at the Simi Valley school in November as a substitute teacher before becoming a full-time third grade teacher in January. Her daughter, Chekarey Byers, started working at the school in January as a fifth-grade teacher, the lawsuit stated.

Both were fired in March, according to the lawsuit, which alleges they were terminated after complaining about “unlawful and unsafe practices,” including the alleged lack of a proper disciplinary system, school nurse, janitorial staff and security precautions.

“No action was taken to remedy plaintiffs’ complaints regarding sanitation, health, safety or education standard pursuant to local and state law, which plaintiffs made throughout the entirety of their employment,” the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit, which includes West, who now goes by Ye, and Donda Academy among the defendants, also alleges that the women’s paychecks were “untimely or inaccurate.”

The two were terminated in early March, effective immediately, and were not provided a reason, according to the lawsuit.

“Plaintiffs are informed and believe that they were terminated in retaliation for their complaints about Defendants’ unlawful and unsafe educational practices,” the lawsuit stated.

The women, who are African American, also allege they were discriminated against based on their race after being called “aggressive” by a school leader, according to the lawsuit.

“Plaintiffs believe this type of comment facilitates stereotypes about African-American women as being confrontational simply for doing their job and voicing their legitimate concerns in order to provide a safe environment and proper education for their students,” the lawsuit states.

ABC News did not immediately receive a response from Donda Academy to an email seeking comment. It’s unclear whether Ye currently has a representative.

The lawsuit is seeking damages including unpaid wages, loss of earnings, deferred compensation and other employment benefits, as well as damages related to emotional distress.

Ye founded the private Christian school last year. The nonaccredited school, which serves students in pre-K through 12th grade, briefly appeared to be shutting down amid backlash over Ye’s antisemitic comments in the fall, though has remained open.

It is currently taking applications for the 2023-2024 school year, according to its website.

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