Florida Teacher Joan Naydich, Beaten Unconscious by Student Over Gaming Dispute Recounts The Attack

Florida Teacher Joan Naydich, Beaten Unconscious by Student Over Gaming Dispute Recounts The Attack

A Florida teacher, 59-year-old Joan Naydich, faced a horrifying assault in February at the hands of a towering 17-year-old student named Brendan Depa.

Standing at 6’6 and weighing nearly 270 pounds, Depa physically attacked Naydich, leaving her unconscious during the incident.

The assault was triggered by Naydich’s request to another staff member to take away Depa’s Nintendo Switch, which he had been using in the classroom, distracting other students.

Verbal Abuse and Physical Attack

During the vicious attack, Depa not only physically assaulted Naydich but also subjected her to verbal abuse.

He allegedly spat on her while hurling derogatory slurs, including calling her a ‘bitch’ and a ‘w***e.’

The situation escalated when Naydich attempted to address the disruptive behavior caused by the video game console.

Legal Proceedings and Impact on Victim

Following the incident, Brendan Depa pleaded no contest to an aggravated battery charge.

He is currently awaiting sentencing at the end of the month.

The brutal attack resulted in severe injuries for Naydich, including five broken ribs, a concussion, and hearing loss.

The traumatic experience has profoundly affected her life, leaving her feeling like a ‘totally different person.’

Background and Previous Interactions

Joan Naydich, originally from Rhode Island, had been working in the Flagler County School District in Florida since 2003.

Her first encounter with Depa occurred in January 2022 when she worked alongside the primary teacher in a special needs classroom.

Depa, who is autistic, had a troubled background, having been adopted as a young child and later sent to live in a group home.

Despite exhibiting verbal intimidation, Depa’s behavior had not escalated to violence during the school year.

Naydich became aware of his affinity for video games and sensitivity to criticism about his academic performance, often accusing her of ‘spying’ on his school file.

Day of the Attack

On the day of the assault, Depa expressed frustration about waiting for other students before breakfast in the cafeteria.

He claimed he had not received dinner the night before, contributing to the heightened tension that eventually led to the violent confrontation.

Surveillance footage captured the hulking teenager repeatedly striking Naydich, leaving her injured and traumatized.

This disturbing incident highlights the challenges educators may face in managing disruptive behavior and the potential risks associated with conflicts in the classroom.

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