Iowa teacher, Amanda Delzell fired for reporting abuse of autistic student

A popular Iowa teacher was fired Monday following an investigation that used surveillance cameras to alert fellow educators who were suspected of abusing a nonverbal autistic student.

The Urbandale School Board voted 4-1 to terminate the contract of Webster Elementary School teacher Amanda Delzell, who has been on paid leave for several months. According to WHO 13.

One of Delzell’s former students, 7-year-old Keaton Petek, reportedly bled after banging his head on a hard floor inside a classroom while an anonymous teacher stood by and did not intervene in May 2023. ing.

Petek has severe autism, a disability that can cause overstimulation and confusion when his schedule is disrupted, and he is nonverbal.

“One of my students, who is autistic and non-verbal, was physically harmed in the classroom by another educator,” said the concerned teacher. Outlet in November.

Amanda Delzell worked as a first grade teacher at Webster Elementary School until her contract was terminated on Monday. WHO13

Delzell claimed that while many staff members were informed about the incident, Petek’s parents, Page and Cody, were not.

“The next day, I went into the room and monitored the cameras and found that the student’s IEP and behavior plan were not being followed and as a result, he was seriously injured,” Delzell said. .

“I saw the teacher standing over him, allowing him to self-harm, and using her legs to push him down the hallway. He was in the fetal position, crying.”

Keaton Petek is nonverbal and has severe autism, which can cause overstimulation and confusion when his schedule is disrupted. WHO13
It was only when Delzell contacted them that the Petek family learned that the special education teacher had not intervened. WHO13

The student’s IEP and behavior plan had precautions in place in case his behavior reached the stage of self-abuse.

“So, his plan of action is that if a situation is created where Keaton hits his head on an object or the ground, an adult will immediately intervene and block his head with a safety cushion. ” said Paige Petek. He told WHO13 in December. “Then a nurse is to evaluate him.”

A school nurse examined Keaton and later called his mother to tell her son that her son had hit his head and torn the scab on his ear, but that the special education teacher had quickly taken care of it.

Paige Petek received an email from her school informing her that her son’s special education teacher would be “away for a few days.”

Delzell repeatedly shared concerns about other teachers’ behavior with her supervisors, but was told it was under investigation and confidential.

It was then that the Delzel family contacted Keaton’s parents.

“Then, on May 30th, I was informed by another employee that an incident had occurred involving my son and that I had been told not to say anything or tell his parents about it.” Paige Petek told the media.

“We couldn’t believe it either. We didn’t know what to do,” the Peteks said.

“We were very upset, hurt and scared,” said the boy’s father, Cody. “We don’t know what happened and we’re just wondering what we’re about to witness? What are we about to see?”

Delzell said she repeatedly shared her concerns about other teachers’ behavior with her superiors, but was told it was under investigation and confidential. WHO13
The Urbandale School Board agreed to terminate Delzell’s contract in a 4-1 vote Monday. WHO13

Delzell was later remanded for telling her parents, but the school board ultimately decided to place her on administrative leave.

She said she reported the alleged abuse out of love for her job and her students.

“Being a teacher is my favorite part of life. I love children. I love going to school.” Delzel said. “They took that away from me when they put me on vacation.”

“I think parents need to know that something like this can happen in their school district. If we lose sight of the safety of our children, what are we doing as a school district?”

Furious, the parents subsequently filed a civil rights lawsuit over the incident with the Iowa Civil Rights Commission.

The Peteks filed a civil rights lawsuit over the incident with the Iowa Civil Rights Commission. WHO13
Delzell’s supporters protested and demanded that teachers return to classrooms. WHO13

After Monday’s vote, Delzell’s attorney denounced the school board’s decision to fire the teacher.

“We very much regret the Superintendent’s recommendation and the Board’s decision. According to WHO13, we are not finished with this fight,” the attorney said. “We will continue to work to hold the school district accountable for its retaliation against Mr. Delzell, who did the right thing.”