The Florida teacher’s assistant who was seen in a viral video being assaulted by a student speaks about her recovery and what led to the incident.
“I was attacked on Feb. 21st and I feel like I’m just constantly being attacked,” Joan Naydich said. She said she has faced medical and financial hurdles since the incident unfolded at Matanzas High School in Palm Coast.
This update comes just weeks before the sentencing of her alleged attacker Brendan Depa. Depa was 17 years old at the time the brutal assault was captured on surveillance footage.
Naydich confirmed that she hasn’t watched the video, and doesn’t plan to. She said that initially reports claimed that she had taken a Nintendo Switch from Depa. However, he was angry because another member of staff would not let him play it.
She said, “Everyone who knows me or knows me [before the attacks], knows that I’m a completely different person now.” “My life was turned completely upside down.”
In March, Naydich received a permanent injunction to protect her from repeated violence towards Depa. She claimed that the beating caused her to suffer five broken ribs and a severe concussion. She also suffered hearing loss in one ear.
She said that she would have to live with many of her injuries, including slowed speech and problems with patience.
Naydich’s financial troubles were revealed when she said that, after returning to work under a new job title in August, she was placed on an unpaid leave days later. She is waiting on the resolution of her workers’ comp case and is “frustrated” by what she calls a lack of support from Flagler County School District.
A district spokesperson confirmed that Naydich was still employed by Flagler Schools. They “would work with anyone who needed accommodations to perform their job successfully.” He said that district personnel are available to help employees navigate the “daunting process” of workers’ compensation.
Depa is now 18 years old and facing charges as an adult. He faces a first-degree felony charge of aggravated assault on an official in the education or elected office, which could result in up to 30 prison terms.
WESH-TV reports that the teenager is a student with special needs. Kurt Teifke told the Daytona Beach News-Journal that Depa is autistic, and “doing very well” while in jail.
Depa will be sentenced on January 31, 2024.