Joan Naydich: Brutally beaten teacher's aide is all 'humble' mom of 2 whose son attends same high school
PALM COAST, FLORIDA: A brutally beaten teacher's aide, Joan Naydich, 57, who is also a mother of two from Palm Coast, Florida, worked two jobs to take care of her family. Naydich was thrown to the ground and knocked unconscious by a 6'7'' teen student at Matanzas High School after she took away his Nintendo Switch on February 21, 2023.
The mom of two has a son Morgan, a senior, who attends the high school, and a daughter who graduated from Matanzas High School in 2013. She has been employed by Matanzas since 2021 and by Flagler County Schools since 2004.
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The Student struck her 15 times
After the student struck her at least 15 times, Naydich was discovered by Flagler County officers with "severe" wounds. To treat her injuries, she was brought to a nearby hospital. She might still be in the hospital, but that is unknown. Since then, the attack's viral video has shown a teenager punching the victim multiple times until other staff members and students come to the victim's aid and drag the attacker away. She appears to be knocked unconscious after being struck hard, but the teen continues to strike her.
'This could have been a homicide'
County Sheriff Rick Staly who watched the video said, "Quite frankly, it was shocking," he said adding, "This could have been a homicide." Staly said, "When you push people down like that, they hit their head, you never know the outcome," WESH2 reported. The student is described as being 6 feet, 7 inches, and weighing 270 pounds. Due to the size of the school, it took some time for the two school resource deputies (SRDs) to get on the scene, the report said. “Fortunately, other students and other faculty members, administrators came and intervened,” said Staly.
'Joan is humble'
"Joan is humble," a GoFundMe fundraiser set up by Jessica White Leo on behalf of Joan Naydich, describes the teaching aide, "Her heart is huge in all she does for others!". The student, who is special needs, was arrested and charged with a juvenile felony for aggravated battery with bodily harm, which faces up to five years. He is currently in the custody of the Department of Juvenile Justice, the Daily Mail reported.
'I don't want to go to jail'
According to the arrest report, the teen claimed he would "beat her up every time she takes away his game," and spat on Naydich as deputies escorted him away. In the body footage, he asked cops if he was going to jail. Later on, he told officers: "F*** you, I don't want to go to jail. I have more important things to do," before accusing them of manhandling him, as per the report.
Mental Health Advocate, Sue Urban - whose 17-year-old son Nicholas graduated from Matanzas High School before taking his own life - responded to the incident, claiming it wasn't "his fault," despite receiving huge backlash. "This is a mental health issue. This is a problem with our system, it is broken." She added, "That child should not have been transported to jail, he should have been transported to a mental health facility," Sue said on Facebook Live. "Please stop labeling this child as a monster. Yes, his size is a big factor, [but] he did not know he was doing wrong," she said.
"These kids are given extra attention in those classes. They are given leeway to have these devices, so when they do lose their tempers or if they do get into that mental space, that they can have those Switches or phones or their comfort devices, [so] that they can calm down," she told the outlet, revealing that her stepson is in the same behavioral wing as the boy in the video. The special wing she mentioned is for "children that are not in the general population of the high school," and that her son and the boy were school friends in separate classes.