FLAGLER COUNTY, Fla. - A teacher’s aide who was the victim of an alleged attack, captured on a surveillance camera at Matanzas High School, is on a long road to recovery.
This update comes weeks ahead of a hearing in which Joan Naydich's accused attacker and former student Brendan Depa is scheduled to be sentenced.
"I was attacked on February 21st and I feel like I'm just constantly being attacked," Naydich said, in reference to the medical and financial hurdles she’s faced in recent months.
The surveillance footage of the attack is graphic. Depa is seen punching and kicking the woman as she lies on the ground, motionless. Naydich said she hasn’t watched the video since it was released and has no intention of doing so. She said Depa, who was 17 years old at the time of the incident, was angry about another staff member not allowing him to play his Nintendo Switch. It was initially reported that Naydich took the device from him, but according to her, this was not the case.
She suffered multiple serious injuries, including five broken ribs, a severe concussion, and loss of hearing in one of her ears, among other issues. 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 said. "My whole life was just turned upside down."
She said her speech has slowed, she has issues with patience, and she often has difficulty with what she considers routine cognitive functions.
"Unfortunately, a lot of my injuries that are not visible I'm going to have for the rest of my life," she said.
A teacher’s aide who was the victim of an alleged attack, captured on surveillance camera at Matanzas High School, is on a long road to recovery.
As for the financial impact this has had, according to Naydich, she’s been struggling to get her workers' compensation case resolved. Naydich said she returned to work in August under a different title. Just a couple of days into her new assignment, she was placed on an unpaid leave of absence. Naydich said she is frustrated with what she called a lack of support from the Flagler County school district.
For now, she’s living off of donations from concerned community members, until she is able to find another stream of income.
Depa pleaded no contest to the aggravated battery charge, giving the judge free rein to sentence Depa to up to 30 years in prison. Naydich said she wants the former student to get the maximum sentence and is willing to speak at the proceeding if need be.
"I want to make sure he is not able to walk the streets freely," she said.
In previous conversations with FOX 35 reporters, Naydich said she felt as though the impending sentencing would bring closure. After having learned of the plea, she said that is no longer the case.
"I have no idea what closure looks like right now," she said. "I just want to be whole again."
Depa's sentencing hearing is scheduled for January 31.