TOMS RIVER, N.J. (AP) — A New Jersey woman who says her 9-year-old daughter was bullied took matters into her own hands and confronted one of the students she says harassed the girl. Now, the mother is facing assault charges, even though she denied touching or hitting anyone.
Rebecca Sardoni and her mother boarded a school bus Friday morning bound for East Dover Elementary School, looking for a boy they claimed had been bullying her daughter on the bus.
From that point, there are conflicting versions of what happened next.
Several students on the bus said Rebecca Sardoni then cursed at the boy and slapped him and a boy seated next to him while her mother yelled at the two boys, Toms River Police Chief Michael G. Mastronardy told The Asbury Park Press.
Rebecca Sardoni, 28, of Toms River, and her mother, 51-year-old Stephanie Sardoni, of Beachwood, were arrested Friday and released on summonses. Rebecca Sardoni is charged with simple assault, criminal trespass and making terroristic threats. Stephanie Sardoni is charged with criminal trespass.
Rebecca Sardoni told The Associated Press on Sunday that she regretted boarding the bus, but she denied touching or hitting anyone.
"I was upset. I wasn't crazy woman upset," she said. "I don't put my hands on my own kids. I would have never put my hands on anyone's kid."
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 the girl 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," Sardoni told the AP.
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 AP.
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.