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

Categories: Health
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​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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13 comments
Don
Don

FAU has little choice but to expel her.  

Jason Scott
Jason Scott

I feel for her if she really does have Schizophrenia. However, even the family says that they tried dealing with Jonatha "privately". I can immagine how they were dealing with the racist emotions that she later expressed the next day openly to her peers. Racism usually rubs off from family..not going any further with this. Anyone, white,black,asian,hispanic should get hate crimes for their actions. There was a CLEAR motive. Judge.Jury.Execution please.

Izzy Okaya
Izzy Okaya

There's this thing you can do about that, it's called asking people with mental illness, if they are comfortable sharing. We don't bite, as a general rule.

Jess
Jess

And what is punishing her going to do, besides make all the self-righteous people out there feel good about themselves? Is it going to cause her to say "Guess I should stop having mental breakdowns now."?

Her and her family are taking responsibility for this, as they should. This should be about realistically assessing what is safe both for her and the rest of the campus and what is not. I think taking online classes is a good idea since it seems unwise for her to be in a classroom right now.

This country's understanding of mental illness is depressing. No, it's not an excuse for bad behavior, and yes she'll have to answer for what happened. But it's also not a light switch that someone can turn off and on. She can't go "I think I'll hold off on having a breakdown until tomorrow when I'm not in class." You might as well start treating depressing and anxiety by punishing people for that too.

And one video is not enough to determine if someone is racist, sexist, etc. When we get angry enough, we scream the most insulting things we can think of. I've seen the nicest people lose it and start throwing out every racial slur or sexist remark they've ever heard. It doesn't make it alright, but the point is that when we're angry we tend to mimic what we've heard other people say. And people say a lot of horrible things.

Jack Levitt
Jack Levitt

She isn't a racist, no, she is 'mentally ill'. LMFAO.

Drew
Drew

Her outburst doesn't necessarily mean that she's racist. Schizophrenia can cause people to become very angry, aggressive, hostile and paranoid. It's as if the "fight or flight" part of the brain kicks into overdrive without cause. What I would like to know is if she remembers everything that she said and did during the incident, and what she has to say about it.

FQS9000
FQS9000

Most racists today are at least partially insane, Black Panthers and Jessie Jackson excluded.  They are merely pigs.

ridingabike
ridingabike

Mental illness or not... she is very racist.

KennyPowersII
KennyPowersII

Wow. A family that takes responsibility which seems to be in rare company today. That is admirable. Hoping that the family can cope.

jojo jackson
jojo jackson

Mental illness- confused thinking- I wouldn't take the racist remarks personally.

Amb9206
Amb9206

 Couldn't agree more Jess

Bobo
Bobo

 I'd like an apology first and an explanation and then for her to clear up what the hell she was thinking when she said some of those things... initially wasn't she just upset at the professor for not giving a clear response to an irrelevant question of hers? Why did she then have to threaten and bad mouth every one else in the room and other ethnicities.... that type of outburst she had is not acceptable... she could have easily walked herself out of the classroom and kept her mouth shut, called her forever loving and supporting mother or sister and vent? But instead she threatened the whole class, smacked students, and assaulted staff?

Amb9206
Amb9206

 Hey BOBO - maybe YOU have the mental illness...don't you get it? Someone with a mental illness cannot necessarily control their actions or reactions in certain circumstances.  Maybe she wasn't taking her meds like she should have - who knows?  And who are you to want an apology? were you the kid that got slapped or the teacher who got yelled at?  You're the type of person that makes it difficult for those living with mental illnesses to make it through life.

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