A ‘traumatized’ teacher’s aide who was brutally beaten by a 270lb student has said she is ‘overwhelmed’ by the support – and denies having taken a game console from the pupil.
Brendan Depa, 17, is facing an aggravated battery charge – a felony – after he allegedly attacked Joan Naydich, 57, at Matanzas High School on February 21.
The teenager told police that Naydich, a teaching assistant at the school, had taken his Nintendo Switch from him which caused the outburst.
But now Naydich has denied doing so, saying that it was ‘misinformation’ and she ‘wanted to set the record straight.’
The hulking 6’6″ student was caught on camera viciously beating the ‘humble’ mother-of-two until she was unconscious.
Joan Naydich, 57, who was brutally beaten by a 270lb student has said she is ‘overwhelmed’ by the support – and denies having taken a game console from the pupil
Depa can be named after the Seventh Judicial Court of Florida ruled that he would be transferred to adult court and is currently being held on a $1million bond according to court documents.
Naydich has spoken out for the first time following the incident, commenting on a GoFundMe which was set up to support her.
The page has raised nearly $60,000, and the teaching aide said she was ‘overwhelmed with the idea of the long fight ahead. Your contributions are lessening that burden and I’m truly grateful!
‘I’m hopeful that the awareness of this incident being spread far and wide will prevent anyone else from ever dealing with the trauma, physical healing and disruption of everyday life that this has caused.
‘It’s touching to know that so many care. This certainly wasn’t how I saw my son’s senior year turning out for our family.’
Depa is seen knocking Naydich to the ground before kicking and punching the unconscious woman at least 15 times in the back and head.
Those convicted of aggravated battery of a school board official in Florida can face up to 30 years in jail for the first-degree felony.
Depa has also been ordered not to contact the teaching assistant by the court, and he will appear for his arraignment on March 6.
Brendan Depa, 17, can be named for the first time after the Seventh Judicial Court of Florida ruled that he would be transferred to adult court
The mother-of-two (pictured together) has spoken out for the first time following the incident, commenting on a GoFundMe which was set up to support her
The student was arrested and taken to the Sheriff Perry Hall Inmate Detention Facility, before being turned over to the Department of Juvenile Justice
Documents seen by DailyMail.com show Depa was charged with battery three times in 2019 before the attack this month.
He previously completed a Department of Juvenile Justice program. Flagler County Sheriff Rick Staly supported the decision to charge him as an adult in the latest incident.
Naydich also wanted to address allegations that she took his game away from him, adding: ‘For all you keyboard warriors, I just want to set the record straight. I never took the Nintendo Switch from him.
‘From anyone that’s read or heard differently, I’ve been told this was unfortunately misinformation.
‘As the process continues, there will be many updates along the way! Your thoughts and prayers through all of this are appreciated more than you know.’
According to the state attorney’s office, Depa ‘did actually and intentionally touch or strike (the victim) against the will of (her) and in doing so used a deadly weapon, and/or intentionally or knowingly caused great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement.’
In surveillance footage, released by the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office, the hulking student can be seen rushing up to Naydich before launching her across the room
Joan Naydich’s body flew several feet before she was knocked unconscious. The student had said he would ‘beat her up every time she takes away his game’
Sheriff Staly said: ‘This student is just six months shy of age 18, and it was also a brutal attack on this teacher. Fortunately, this didn’t result in a fatality.
‘This could be a homicide we are talking about.’
Naydich has since been released from hospital and is recovering at home following the savage beating.
She has a son who attends the high school and a daughter who graduated in 2013. Nayditch has worked for Flagler County Schools since 2004, and at Matanzas since 2021.
In surveillance footage, released by the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office, the hulking student can be seen rushing up to Naydich before launching her across the room, her body flying several feet.
She hits the ground head-first, rendering her unconscious, with the student immediately kicking Naydich before kneeling down to punch her in the head and torso.
Another woman runs up to the student and grabs his arm, but is unable to pull him off the aide before several others rush to drag him off her.
Even after they manage to push him to the ground, he still reaches his leg out to hit Naydich a few more times.
She hits the ground head-first, rendering her unconscious. The student immediately begins kicking her before kneeling down to punch her in the head and torso
It took five staff members to restrain and drag the boy away from Naydich’s body as he fought against them
It takes five staff members to restrain and drag him away from her body as he fought against them.
Depa claimed he would ‘beat her up every time she takes away his game,’ and spat on Naydich as deputies escorted him away, according to the arrest report.
In bodycam footage, the student can be seen asking officers if he is ‘going to jail,’ while they handcuff him in the school.
‘For how long?’ the students asked. ‘I don’t know,’ the officer replied.
Moments later he told officers: ‘F**k you, I don’t want to go to jail. I have more important things to do,’ before accusing them of manhandling him.
According to Fox there used to be a school dedicated to troubled teens in Flagler County, for pupils who struggled to function in a traditional classroom environment.
That included those who had been convicted of a crime, or were considered too violent to attend classes on traditional campuses.
But Flagler County voters failed to pass a 50-cent property tax levy to pay for the school back in 2013.
Sheriff Staly added: ‘We had a school resource officer assigned to that mini-school if you will, and that’s been eliminated.
‘Maybe this is something the district should look at.’