Teen who beat teacher unconscious over Nintendo Switch should have never attended school, mom says
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Featured Image Credit: Flagler County Sheriff's Office / NewsNation
The mother of the Florida teen who beat his teacher until she was unconscious after she confiscated his Nintendo Switch has said her son should never have been in a mainstream school.
Since the February attack which saw the then 17-year-old Brendan Depa hit his teacher until she was unconscious over the gaming device, his mother is finally speaking out in her first public appearance.
Pleading for leniency, Leanne Depa has said prison would be a 'death sentence' for her son.
Brendan slammed Matanzas High School paraprofessional Joan Naydich to the floor, kicking and punching her head.
Naydich has said she wants Brendan to be sentenced to 30 years in prison.
The mother asked Naydich to request a lighter punishment for Brendan, who has autism and known behavioural issues, claiming he should never have been sent to a mainstream public school due to his condition.
Speaking to NewsNations, she said: “I am so sorry for what my son did and nobody should ever have to go through that.
“But at the same time, please consider that my son has had a hard life and he’s gone through so much trauma in his life. He has autism. Please show mercy to him.”
It was only last month that Brendan pleaded guilty to beating Naydich, which left her with five broken ribs and hearing loss.
The teacher also claims to continue to suffer with ongoing cognitive problems due to the attack.
Leanne is terrified about what prison would do to her son.
She said: “I feel like if he gets sentenced to prison, it’s a death sentence for him. He’s scared. And to have your child call and cry and say, ‘I don’t want to die’ — it’s awful.”
Blaming his mental disabilities and trauma for his behavior, she went on to ask why he was even allowed at the public school.
She argued the attacked could have been prevented had he been admitted into an appropriate education setting.
Brendan has a severe form of autism, ADHD, oppositional defiance disorder and reactive explosive disorder.
All of these disorders affect his ability to regulate his emotions, understand consequences and control impulses among others.
Having previously been placed in an autism behavioral hospital two years prior to the incident, he was then sent to the Florida public school by his intensive behavioral group home, his mother confirmed.
She said: “I had always homeschooled him because he didn’t handle the school environment. I asked the group home, ‘Did he have to go to public school? Could he not do school online?’
"And I was assured by them that all of their clients went to public school.
“I never thought he belonged in public school. I didn’t have a choice.”
Brendan’s behavioral issues do not constitute as a defence in Florida, according to his mother.
He is held on a $1 million bond as he waits for his sentencing in January.