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Back In February, a viral video showed a Florida teen physically assaulting a female teacher for taking away his Nintendo Switch. Brendan Depa, who was 17 years old at that time, knocked down Joan Naydich, a paraprofessional at Matanzas High School. Depa kicked and punched the female teacher while she lay unconscious on the floor.

Brendan Depa with his attorneys (Photo credit: David Tucker/News Journal/USA Today Network)
Brendan Depa with his attorneys (Photo credit: David Tucker/News Journal/USA Today Network)

The surveillance footage of the incident which happened in the school’s hallway quickly went viral. Naydich was later taken to the hospital for treatment. The Florida teen told deputies that he was upset that the teacher took his Nintendo Switch away from him during class.

Deputies said Depa was charged with felony and aggravated battery with bodily harm at that time. Now that the Florida teen has turned 18, his charges have been upgraded and he is now charged as an adult and faces fist-degree felony aggravated battery on an elected official.

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The Florida teen’s lawyer, Kurt Teifke, reportedly told Dayton Beach-News Journal that his client is autistic and “doing well”. Teifke tried to stop his client from standing trial due to his mental condition. However, that effort was declined ahead of the plea. Depa is currently held in the Flagler County Jail on a $1 million bond.

What I found more disgusting was how long it took anyone to come to the aid of the educator. When help eventually came, they acted as if they were powerless against the teenager. Even under their watch, he was still assaulting the unconscious teacher.

The Florida teen now faces up to 30 years in jail

Surveillance footage of Depa assaulting Naydich (Photo credit: Flagler County Sheriff's Office)
Surveillance footage of Depa assaulting Naydich (Photo credit: Flagler County Sheriff’s Office)

When Depa appeared in court on Monday, 30 October 2023, he was asked how he pleaded against the felony charge by Judge Terrence Perkins. “No contest,” he said as reported by Flagler Live.

Judge Perkins now has the option of handing a minimum sentence of probation or a maximum term of 30 years as contained in the law. The proceeding is scheduled for hearing on January 31 next year and will include witness testimony for both the defense and prosecution.

Naydich has refused to take part in any effort that would lessen Depa’s sentence. Also, prosecutors have not shown any sign of leniency. Back in March, Naydich was granted a permanent injunction for protection against repeat violence from the Florida teen. The educator must have taken the action because of reports that Depa threatened to kill her while being taken into custody.

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During the petition for the injunction, Naydich said that she suffered multiple bruises and two broken ribs from the attack. Naydich later opened a GoFundMe page which raised over $104,000. In the page description, she wrote:

“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.”

Joan Naydich, a paraprofessional at Matanzas High School

This is not the first time that the Florida teen has been arrested for battery. According to credible reports, he had been arrested three times before the Naydich incident. Flagler Live also reported that the Florida teen was involved in a jail fight in September.

Naydich is expected to testify in the Florida teen’s sentencing and has declined to make comments on the case.

Bad parenting, failed society, or video game addiction?

The case of the Florida teen can be classified as one of three problems: bad parenting, failed society, or the consequences of video game addiction. I say this because parents rarely care about their children anymore because they are busy trying to make ends meet.

Growing up in an African home, my parents would watch your every move and you cannot bring a pencil home without properly explaining how you got it. Today, in most African homes, jobless young adults bring back luxury cars and get praised by their parents. It’s possible Depa’s parents may not even know that he owned a Nintendo Switch.

Joan Naydich, the victim of the Florida teen attack (Photo credit: David Tucker/News Journal/USA Today Network)
Joan Naydich, the victim of the Florida teen attack (Photo credit: David Tucker/News Journal/USA Today Network)

The dignity of labor has been eroded by the eulogies of success—and many people will do anything it takes to get that praise. This has led to a sudden explosion of online fraudsters who rob people of their hard-earned money. So, while parents have failed their children, society also has a share of the blame by emphasizing success rather than hard work.

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This may also be a case of game addiction. Teenagers as young as 13 have been reported to be aggressive when their games are taken away from them. Although it was reported that the three times the Florida teen was charged with battery he completed a program with the Department of Juvenile Justice, the repeated offense should have suggested to authorities that he needed more than just “a program”.

This should be a wake-up call to parents to spend more time to know their children and seek intervention early if they notice strange behaviors. I may be African and a bit old school but I still believe discipline cannot be erased from proper child upbringing.

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Categories: News

Anthony Emecheta

Anthony Emecheta has over a decade experience as a freelance writer. Gaming has always been a childhood hobby and he is excited to be collaborating with a gaming company as a content creator. It is like having all the things he loves in one place.

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