Jonatha Carr, FAU Student Who Threatened to Kill Teacher, Has Long History of Mental Illness, Family Says | The Daily Pulp | South Florida | Broward Palm Beach New Times | The Leading Independent News Source in Broward-Palm Beach, Florida


Jonatha Carr, FAU Student Who Threatened to Kill Teacher, Has Long History of Mental Illness, Family Says

​The FAU student featured in a viral YouTube video showing her threatening to kill a professor has struggled with mental illness for more than a decade, according to her family.

Jonatha Carr had a breakdown in a biology class at Florida Atlantic University on March 20, and cell-phone videos of the incident were quickly posted to YouTube, where they've attracted more than half a million views. Carr can be heard yelling things like "I will kill the fuck out of you" before being pulled out of the classroom by two FAU employees.

Carr was served an "interim suspension" while she was in the hospital but has not yet been expelled, according to her mother, Joyce Carr. FAU police said she isn't going to be charged with any crimes.

But this was not the first time the 24-year-old student has encountered a breakdown, though it was the first in public -- she had her first one at age 13 and was diagnosed with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, according to her sister, Nicole Carr, who said they reached out to the Pulp after media reports connecting Jonatha Carr's outburst with the Trayvon Martin case.

"We've dealt with it privately. Unfortunately, that privacy has been broken," she said. "Jonatha's more than the video that's posted on the web."

After the initial breakdown, Jonatha was then on and off medication for several years, she said.

"We didn't know what it was," Nicole said. "We were ignorant about mental illness. We thought 'OK, that won't happen again.'"

But in 2009, it did. After Joyce drove Jonatha to the hospital, police had to be called to get her inside.

"When she had the break, it was, 'OK, she has a mental illness,'" Joyce said.

Jonatha was put on steady medication to treat what doctors and her family realized was a chronic condition. Joyce also temporarily pulled Jonatha out of her FAU classes. Since then, they said, Jonatha has been on medication, attending group therapy, and doing fine. There were no indications that the events from March 20 would happen.

"We don't know where that came from," Nicole said.

According to the police report, the FAU staffers who pulled Jonatha out of the classroom had to hold her down until police arrived. Jonatha was then combative to the point that police were forced to taser her three times and bypass the police station to take her directly to South County Mental Health Center. She reportedly yelled things like "Jewish people who think this world is theirs, which it's not, I will fucking kill you at the Holocaust events all over the world."

While FAU has declined to comment on Jonatha's status, Joyce said there is a hearing schedule with FAU administrators. She said she was told it wouldn't be "like a proceeding, with witnesses," but said there was nothing about that in writing.

"To be honest with you, I'm not sure what to expect," Joyce said. "We're hoping that's in fact what it is."

But, she said, they'd understand if the university had to take broad steps.

"Of course, people are going to say, 'It's her family; they're looking for an excuse,'" Joyce said. "If Jonatha never finishes her biology degree at FAU, we accept that... I definitely expect them to protect the campus."

She said, though, that she hopes to explore other options like online courses.

"Jonatha suffers with mental illness. Not as an excuse, but that's the situation," she said.

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Rich Abdill

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