Kid KOs Teacher's Aide, Keeps Swinging: Cops

17-year-old, charged as an adult, faces up to 30 years in prison if convicted of assault
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 1, 2023 8:54 AM CST

With a single move, the student sent the teacher's aide crashing to the floor of Matanzas High School in Palm Coast, Florida, apparently unconscious. But for the next 30 seconds, the 17-year-old male—described as 6'6" and 270 pounds—continued to beat the woman lying unmoving on the floor, according to a surveillance video. Even when several people pulled the student off of the woman, he still managed to kick her. Then he sat up and repeatedly punched her again. The reason: She had confiscated his Nintendo Switch, the student told police, per the Daytona Beach News-Journal, though paraprofessional Joan Naydich disputes that.

"I never took the Nintendo Switch from him," the mother of two, who was hospitalized but is now recovering at home, writes on a GoFundMe page, per the New York Post. "I've been told this was unfortunately misinformation." No matter the motive, the 17-year-old has been charged as an adult with aggravated battery on a school board employee, a first-degree felony punishable by up to 30 years in prison, following the Feb. 21 incident. Video shows the student struck Naydich about 15 times in the back and the back of the head, resulting in "severe injuries," according to the Flagler County Sheriff's Office.

Later, as he was led away in handcuffs, he passed by her and yelled that he would kill her, according to an affidavit. It also claims he spit at her. "The actions of this student are absolutely horrendous and completely uncalled-for," Sheriff Rick Staly says in a release, per CNN. The student—who also allegedly kicked a computer, causing a monitor to crash to the floor—has "a violent past" including three arrests for simple battery in 2019, per the Post. He's held in Flagler County Jail with bail set at $1 million. Naydich says she hopes "awareness of this incident ... will prevent anyone else from ever dealing with the trauma, physical healing and disruption of everyday life that this has caused." (More assault stories.)

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