Teacher Beaten Unconscious By Student Now Living Off Donations

A Florida teacher who was brutally beaten by a 270-pound student for confiscating his video game has revealed that she is currently living off donations because the school put her on unpaid leave.

Speaking with local news station Fox 35, Joan Naydich explained the toll that the attack has taken on her life.

“Everybody that knows me or knew me [before the attack], knows that I’m a totally different person now,” she told the outlet. “My whole life was just turned upside down.”

Naydich has called for her attacker — Brendan Depa, who was 17 years old at the time of the attack and stood at six feet six inches tall — to receive the maximum sentence of 30 years in prison for the horrific attack.

Depa was seen on camera brutally beating Naydich until she was unconscious, stomping on her and repeatedly punching her as she laid on the ground. The paraprofessional was left with five broken ribs, a severe concussion, and hearing loss as a result of the attack, which took place in February at Matanzas High School in Florida.

Naydich told Fox 35 that she was left physically and emotionally broken after the attack, noting that her speech has slowed and she has suffered from ongoing cognitive issues.

“Unfortunately, a lot of my injuries that are not visible I’m going to have for the rest of my life,” she explained.

Alongside her physical problems, Naydich has also struggled to resolve her workers’ compensation case and stated that the Flagler County School District has essentially abandoned her since the attack. She briefly returned to the school in a different position in August but was later placed on an unpaid leave of absence.

Naydich currently has no steady income and is instead relying on donations from a GoFundMe account and assistance from her local community. The charity account created after the attack has raised roughly $106,000 thus far.

Depa, who officials have claimed is autistic, pleaded guilty to the attack last month. Naydich has thus far refused to help his defense team seek a lighter sentence. He is facing a minimum sentence of probation and a maximum of 30 years in prison.

“I want to make sure he is not able to walk the streets freely,” Naydich told Fox 35.

Depa’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for January 2024 and will include testimony from both the prosecution and defense. Depa’s attorneys have cited his supposed mental deficits and previously tried to argue that he was not competent to stand trial, though the judge rejected the argument.

He was initially charged as a juvenile, but the court decided to charge him as an adult after considering the viciousness of the attack and his three prior battery arrests. Depa also allegedly threatened to kill Naydich after he was arrested.