TOMS RIVER, N.J. (AP) — The mother of a 9-year-old girl who says she was bullied has been arrested on charges she boarded a school bus and slapped and cursed at two fourth-grade boys, while the girl's grandmother is accused of screaming at them, authorities said.
Rebecca Sardoni, 28, of Toms River, and her mother, 51-year-old Stephanie Sardoni, of Beachwood, were arrested Friday and released on summonses.
Toms River Police Chief Michael G. Mastronardy told The Asbury Park Press that witnesses said the two women boarded a school bus Friday morning bound for East Dover Elementary School and asked for a boy they claimed had been harassing Rebecca Sardoni's daughter on the bus.
Several students on the bus said Rebecca Sardoni then cursed at the boy and slapped him and a boy seated next to him while Stephanie Sardoni yelled at the two boys, Mastronardy said.
Rebecca Sardoni is charged with simple assault, criminal trespass and making terroristic threats. Stephanie Sardoni is charged with criminal trespass.
A woman who identified herself as Rebecca Sardoni answered the phone Sunday at a listing for Stephanie Sardoni in Beachwood. She told The Associated Press that she regretted boarding the bus, but she denied touching or hitting anyone.
"I was upset. I wasn't crazy woman upset," Rebecca Sardoni said. "I don't put my hands on my own kids. I would have never put my hands on anyone's kid."
Rebecca Sardoni said her daughter is upset and nervous about going to school Monday. She said she's considering sending her daughter to a new school but knows for sure that she won't be taking the bus anymore.
"It's crazy that this got blown into me doing something wrong — me and my family — when this is my daughter that is the victim," Rebecca Sardoni told the AP.
Rebecca Sardoni said she took matters into her own hands after school officials ignored complaints that her daughter, who is also in fourth-grade, had been verbally and physically bullied by four students. She said her mother merely stood at the front of the bus with the driver.
School officials couldn't be reached Sunday by The Associated Press.
The boys were treated by nurses from Toms River Regional Schools for cuts to their mouths. One of the boys was taken by his parents to a local hospital for treatment of a neck injury, Mastronardy said.
The stepfather of one of the boys — who have not been named because of their ages — told the newspaper his stepson had a cut on his lip after Rebecca Sardoni slammed his head against the bus window.
AP Radio reporter John Klobucar in Washington contributed to this report.