'life turned upside down': florida teacher's aide, victim of brutal beating, living off donations

'unfortunately, a lot of my injuries that are not visible i'm going to have for the rest of my life'

a florida teacher’s aide who was brutally attacked by a 270-pound student earlier this year is living off donations until she can find a new line of work.

“everybody that knows me or knew me (before the attack), knows that i’m a totally different person now,” joan naydich told orlando fox affiliate wofl . “my whole life was just turned upside down.”

naydich, 58, said she is having difficulty resolving her workers’ compensation case. although she returned to work in august with a different title, she was placed on an unpaid leave of absence just two days into her new role.
“i was attacked on february 21st and i feel like i’m just constantly being attacked,” naydich said, referring to the struggle to get back on her feet and frustration with what she says is a lack of support from the local school district.

naydich, who has a son and daughter, said she is living off gofundme donations organized by a friend, which has accumulated more than $122,000 since late february .

according to naydich, she suffered five broken ribs, loss of hearing in one ear, a severe concussion and cognitive issues. she has seen doctors to help diagnose some of the neurological symptoms she is suffering from.
“unfortunately, a lot of my injuries that are not visible i’m going to have for the rest of my life,” she said.



the beating was captured on video by a security camera at matanzas high school in palm coast.

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in the video, brendan depa — who was 17 at the time — threw naydich to the ground and repeatedly kicked and punched the educator unconscious until school staff intervened.

“all i remember is walking to the door and my hand on the doorknob,” naydich told the daytona beach news-journal . “and that’s the last i remember until coming to, the last real full thing i remember until coming to at the hospital.”

it was reported that the student, who suffers from autism spectrum disorder, was unhappy that he could not play with his nintendo switch.

depa, now 18, faces up to 30 years in prison after he pleaded no contest to an aggravated battery charge , a first-degree felony . he is scheduled to be sentenced jan. 31.

naydich wants the judge to hand out the maximum penalty and is willing to speak at the sentencing hearing.
“i want to make sure he is not able to walk the streets freely,” she said.


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