The Florida teacher’s aide who was brutally stomped unconscious by a hulking, 270-pound student over a video game system feels she’s “constantly being attacked” as she tries to recover from the February beating, revealing that she’s been forced to live off donations from concerned members of her community.
As BizPac Review reported, Joan Naydich, a white paraprofessional at Matanzas High School in Flagler County, was viciously beaten on camera by black, 17-year-old, 6’6,” 270-pound Brendan Depa after he was ordered to stop playing with a Nintendo Switch.
Her ordeal didn’t end when school staffers stepped in and prevented Depa from killing her.
“I was attacked on February 21st and I feel like I’m just constantly being attacked,” Naydich told Fox 35, referring to the mountain of medical and financial she’s faced in recent months.
Naydich “suffered multiple serious injuries, including five broken ribs, a severe concussion, and loss of hearing in one of her ears, among other issues,” Fox 35 reports. “She said since the attack, she’s been back and forth to several doctors who are looking for a diagnosis for some of the neurological symptoms she’s faced.”
“Everybody that knows me or knew me [before the attack], knows that I’m a totally different person now,” she explained. “My whole life was just turned upside down.”
Slower speech, problems with patience, and finding routine cognitive functions challenging are only part of the hurdles she must navigate.
“Unfortunately, a lot of my injuries that are not visible I’m going to have for the rest of my life,” she said.
(Video: Fox 35)
On top of everything, Naydich says that getting her workers’ compensation case resolved has been a struggle.
In August, she returned to work under a different title, only to be placed on an unpaid leave of absence a couple of days later.
A GoFundMe, organized by parent and friend Jessica White Leon, has been set up, and Naydich said she has been forced to live off the donations.
As of Thursday morning, $118,035 of the $ 125,000 goal has been raised.
“Joan is a mom of two! Her son is a senior and her daughter graduated from Matanzas HS in 2013. She’s been working two jobs to care for her family. Her heart is huge in all she does for others!” White Leon wrote. “Joan is humble, never asks for help and needs our love/support during this difficult time. I’ve asked her to allow us to do this so that she can rest, heal and spend time with her kids without worrying about financial concerns right now.”
In a Wednesday update, the concerned friend blasted Flagler Schools and the union for failing to help the injured educator:
Our very own should’ve been given the respect & care of the best of the best to ensure the most optimistic outcome of recovery! Instead, after 8 months, she heard doctors say “traumatic brain injury” for the first time. Unacceptable in my opinion!!!
We know in education, therapy and “early intervention” is key! Why wasn’t this a district priority over getting her back to work? We (Flagler Schools) failed her after the attack! The Union did nothing to help her after she met once virtually with President Andrew Spar and she didn’t agree to go with their attorney! Union failed her and I realize more than ever the “agenda” behind our monthly dues.
Eye opening all around….!!!!
So I ask publicly, who is going to forget the red tape, leave out politics and simply step up to do what is right for Joan’s health and recovery?
Given Depa’s record, which includes three prior arrests, the teenager, who pleaded no contest to aggravated battery, now faces three decades behind bars if he’s convicted of the felony charge.
Naydich hopes the book is thrown at him.
“I want to make sure he is not able to walk the streets freely,” she told Fox 35.
Depa’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for January 31.