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15th Oct 2023

Teacher beaten by student after stopping use of Nintendo Switch refuses to help reduce sentence

Steve Hopkins

The former student is facing up to 30 years jail – $100k has been raised for the teacher

A teacher who was severely beaten by a student after stopping him from playing his Nintendo Switch in class has refused to help the defence try to lighten the teenager’s sentence.

In February, Brendan Depa, then 17, attacked his high school teacher, Joan Naydich, and had to be physically pulled off her.

Depa, who weighs 270 pounds (122kg) and is 6’6 tall, was seen on CCTV video kicking and punching the Florida teacher in the head and back multiple times before Matanzas High School staff were able to move him away. Video of the attack went viral.

Naydich, 57, was left unconscious and required hospital treatment.

It has also been reported that Depa threatened to kill the teacher’s aide during his arrest.

Depa, now 18, is facing a first-degree felony charge of aggravated battery and now faces up to 30 years behind bars.

It was initially reported Naydich had personally confiscated the Nintendo from Depa, but she denied doing so in subsequent interviews.

“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 this has caused,” she said on a GoFundMe page that has raised more than $103,000 to give her time to “rest, heal and spend time with her kids without worrying about financial concerns right now.”

Depa was initially charged as a juvenile and would have faced a lesser sentence, however, now that he is an adult it has been upgraded, the New York Post reported.

The teenager is set to plead guilty in an attempt to avoid jail time.

Flagler Live reports that Naydich has “shown no interest in mitigating what penalties Depa might face”. The outlet also suggested Depa got into a fight in jail last month.

Depa had a previous criminal record prior to his attack on the teacher earlier this year, having had three battery arrests before, as per the Post.

The Post further reports that the high school where the assault took place has been dogged by violence in recent years. It said, this week alone, 11 students were arrested at the Palm Coast school after a massive fracas erupted in a crowded hallway.

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