PALM COAST, FLORIDA – A Florida teacher who was viciously attacked by a teenage student over a video game is now relying on donations to support herself as she continues to struggle with the physical and emotional aftermath of the assault. Joan Naydich, a paraprofessional at Matanzas High School, was left with broken ribs, a severe concussion, and hearing loss when 17-year-old Brendan Depa assaulted her in February. Naydich is adamant that Depa should receive the harshest penalty possible at his upcoming sentencing.
Speaking to Fox 35, Naydich revealed that the attack had completely changed her life. She believes that a maximum prison sentence of 30 years is warranted for the stomach-churning incident. Naydich, who now suffers from ongoing cognitive problems and slowed speech, stated, “Unfortunately, a lot of my injuries that are not visible I’m going to have for the rest of my life.”
Naydich’s struggle is further compounded by her ongoing workers’ compensation case, which has yet to be resolved. She expressed her frustration with the Flagler County School District, claiming that she has been abandoned by her employer since the attack. While Naydich briefly returned to work in August, she was subsequently placed on an unpaid leave of absence. This has left her with no steady income, forcing her to rely on donations and the support of her community.
Depa, who officials have identified as autistic, attacked Naydich after a teacher confiscated his Nintendo Switch. Without warning, he launched a brutal assault from behind, repeatedly kicking and punching the teacher. Surveillance cameras caught the entire incident, which went viral quickly.
Last month, Depa pleaded guilty to the attack. However, Naydich refused to assist his defense team in seeking a lighter sentence. She is determined to see Depa receive a maximum of 30 years in prison and is willing to testify to ensure that outcome. The sentencing hearing is set for January and will include testimony from both the prosecution and defense.
According to Depa’s attorneys, he is incompetent to stand trial because of mental deficiencies. However, Judge Terrence Perkins rejected this argument before Depa’s guilty plea. Previously charged as a juvenile, Depa’s charges were later upgraded following the attack on Naydich. It has also been revealed that the teenager had three prior battery-related arrests.