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Trial scheduled in lawsuit brought by former Donda Academy teachers who sued Ye for wrongful termination

The teachers alleged they were victims of racial discrimination by the rapper and were fired in retaliation for reporting code violations.
Ye arrives at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party
Ye arrives at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party in Beverly Hills, Calif., in 2020.Evan Agostini / Invision/AP file

A lawsuit involving two former Donda Academy teachers who sued Ye for what they said was wrongful termination from his now-shuttered private Christian school is scheduled for an April 2025 trial.

Cecilia Hailey and Chekarey Byers brought the civil lawsuit against Ye, formally known as Kanye West, in April. The suit painted a bizarre picture of the Simi Valley school: students who were served only sushi for lunch and had to sit on the floor to eat, doors locked from the outside, and classes being held only on the first floor because the rapper was "afraid of stairs."

Hailey and Byers, who are mother and daughter, also alleged in the lawsuit that they were victims of racial discrimination by the rapper and were fired in retaliation for reporting code violations. The women are Black.

Ye as well as Hailey and Byers had sought a jury trial, according to a court filing on Friday. The other defendants in the suit, including Donda Academy, did not demand a jury trial. It is scheduled for April 9, 2025, at a Los Angeles courthouse, the filing states.

Representatives for the rapper could not immediately be reached for comment on Saturday.

Attorney Ron Zambrano, who is representing the women, said they are "looking forward to our day in court if this can’t be worked out in mediation with Ye and the other defendants acknowledging wrongdoing."

"Through his attorneys, Ye has told the judge of his willingness to engage in good faith negotiations," he continued. "While we are hopeful this will resolve the matter with an admission to the allegations against him, we stand by everything in the complaint and aim to hold the defendants accountable for this reprehensible and illegal behavior, no matter their celebrity status."

The Donda Academy in Simi Valley, Calif.
The Donda Academy in Simi Valley, Calif.Google Maps

Zambrano previously said that the lawsuit showed that the rapper "is clearly as bad at running a school as he is at managing his own personal and professional life."

Zambrano accused Ye of enabling an illegal and unsafe school environment "that also discriminated against the plaintiffs based on their race."

The lawsuit described how forks and other utensils were barred from the school, students had to sit on the floor during lunch, were fed only sushi, and lunch and recess were held indoors at the same time. It alleged that no cleaning services or school nurses were employed, medications on campus either were unsecured or had expired, and that crossword puzzles were not allowed.

There was to be no jewelry, no color or artwork on the walls, and students had to wear all black and dress only in clothing issued or designed by the rapper, according to the suit. Nike and Adidas were "forbidden," it said.

Classes were held on the first floor because "he was reportedly afraid of stairs," the suit said.

Byers said in a previous statement that she was disappointed and had considered working at the school a "huge honor and privilege."

"I’m extremely sad about all of this," she said. "I’m a huge Kanye fan. His first album was the first I ever purchased."

Byers said Ye's vision for the school looked "great on paper" but in reality, it was "pure chaos and mutiny."

"It’s like a mental hospital being run by the patients," she said in her statement.

A third former teacher, Timanii Meeks, also sued the rapper and school, alleging wrongful termination.

Meeks said she had alerted administrators to exposed electrical wiring in the building and other safety hazards as well as issues with bullying, according to an amended complaint. She was allegedly told that the school was "working on the kinks."

She alleged that a few parents had sat in on her class and complained that there were no books, textbooks or educational materials, the suit said. The students were eventually given printouts of online worksheets and workbooks, but she was reprimanded because of the complaints, according to the lawsuit.

Meeks was later informed on Oct. 12 by the staffing agency that placed her at Donda Academy that the school did not want her to teach there, the suit stated. She said she was supposed to continue working at the school until at least the end of the year and no reason was given for her firing.

She is being represented by the same employment law firm as Hailey and Byers.

Donda Academy announced in October that it was closing amid fallout from antisemitic comments Ye made, however, records from California’s Education Department showed Saturday that the school is still active.