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2 Dec 2023
Amy Curtis


NextImg:Mom Pleads For Mercy For Teen Who Beat Teacher Over Nintendo Switch

This video is so difficult to watch. Brendan Depa is a teen with autism who beat his teacher unconscious over a Nintendo Switch. He pleaded guilty and will be sentenced in January.

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The full tweet reads:

Depa is facing up to 30 years in prison for the attack as the teacher, Joan Naydich, is still recovering from the trauma.

"I am so sorry for what my son did. Nobody should ever have to go through that... please consider he has had a hard life and he has gone through so much trauma in his life," Leanne Depa said.

"He has autism. Please show mercy to him."

Naydich is reportedly refusing to help Depa get a lighter sentence and says she hopes this case will "prevent anyone else from ever dealing with the trauma."

And The New York Post  has more details:

The mother of the hulking Florida teen who beat his female teacher unconscious over a Nintendo Switch video game claimed prison time would be a “death sentence” for her convicted son.

Leanne Depa pleaded for leniency for the now-18-year-old Brendan Depa, who faces up to 30 years behind bars for slamming Matanzas High School paraprofessional Joan Naydich to the floor before kicking and punching her in the back and head more than a dozen times.

In her first public appearance since the February beatdown, the grieving mother Wednesday begged Naydich to request that the 6-foot-6 teenager be handed a lighter punishment.

“I am so sorry for what my son did and nobody should ever have to go through that,” Leanna Depa said on an appearance on NewsNation’s “Banfield” through tears.

We sympathize with the mom, because we're mothers.

But this crime was so horrific. Joan Naydich, the paraprofessional, suffered broken ribs, hearing loss, and a severe concussion. She reports ongoing cognitive and speech issues. Months after the attack, she briefly returned to the school but has been on unpaid leave since August and relying on donations. She also says she hasn't heard about her worker's compensation claim, and feels the school district has 'abandoned' her.

The New York Post reported back in November:

The Florida teacher who was beaten unconscious by a hulking teen student over a video game said she’s now forced to live off donations — and wants no mercy shown for her attacker at his upcoming sentencing.

“Everybody that knows me or knew me [before the attack] knows that I’m a totally different person now,” Joan Naydich told Fox 35. “My whole life was just turned upside down.” 

Then 17 years old and standing 6 feet 6, Brendan Depa assaulted the paraprofessional inside Matanzas High School in February, leaving her with five broken ribs, a severe concussion and hearing loss.

Naydich told the station that she wants Depa sentenced to a maximum of 30 years behind bars for the stomach-churning incident that left her physically and emotionally broken.

Naydich said her speech has slowed and that she suffers from ongoing cognitive problems.

“Unfortunately, a lot of my injuries that are not visible I’m going to have for the rest of my life,” she said. 

Compounding her physical ailments, Naydich said she is struggling to get her workers’ compensation case resolved and has been all but abandoned by the Flagler County School District since the attack.

The system failed both Depa and Naydich.

Unfortunately, the system cannot go to prison, and Depa can, and probably will.

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No, he probably shouldn't have been. Again, the system has failed him and will continue to fail lots of students like him.

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Again, the system never should have let it get this far. There was a diagnosed history of behavioral disturbance, and yet he was put in a public school that did not provide adequate staffing and support.

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That's the danger; his behavior is uncontrolled and at 18, he won't have a school environment to even attempt to mitigate his temper. He is a risk to public safety.

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Yes, all of this.

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It was also, apparently, his fourth assault at the school.

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We agree. Especially about No Child Left Behind.

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There was failure all around.

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Consequences are warranted. 

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But she's the mother and she could have vetoed the decision to put him in the school. She has that authority.

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And how many of us didn't know that this teacher wasn't the one who took the game away from him? His rage was directed at an innocent bystander; this doesn't bode well for his behavior in public.

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At the end of the day: he's a 6'6" man who beat a woman, and this was his fourth assault at the school. We wonder what the judge will do come sentencing in January.


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