Matanzas High School student who allegedly attacked teacher's aid to undergo competency hearing, judge rules

A 17-year-old Florida student accused of brutally attacking a teacher's aide at Matanzas High School will undergo a mental examination to determine if he is competent to stand trial.

According to court documents, Judge Terence Perkins ordered the mental competency exam to determine if the teen, who is being charged as an adult, meets the definitions by Florida law for intellectual disability or autism.

On. Feb 21, the Flagler County student was arrested on a charge of felony aggravated battery with bodily harm after he knocked a teacher's aide unconscious and began to hit her, the Flagler Sheriff's Office said in a news release. He has since pleaded not guilty. 

Surveillance video from the brutal attack allegedly shows the student – who is described as approximately 6 feet, 6 inches tall and 270 pounds — throw the aide to the ground, knocking her unconscious. He then punches and kicks her several times before witnesses step in to pull him off. 

Content warning: The video below depicts violence and is intense.  It may be unsuitable for some and viewer discretion is advised.

Deputies said the student attacked her because he was upset that she had taken away his Nintendo Switch, though the victim, later identified on her GoFundMe page as Joan Naydich, said she never took the game away from him, adding that it is misinformation.

A spokesperson for Flagler Schools said the employee suffered broken ribs and significant bruising. She has been with the district since 2004 and as a paraprofessional since 2021. 

The attack was not the teen's first time being violent. According to court documents, he was arrested three separate times for battery in 2019.

Some have questioned why he wasn't placed in an alternative school for troubled youth. FOX 35 has learned that Flagler County had to close their only alt-school in 2016 after voters denied a property tax to pay for the school.

The teen's next court hearing is set for April 5.