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Mother Disciplined After Confronting Son's Bullies

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- A mother who confronted two boys who bullied her 10-year-old son has been banned from her son's Minneapolis school and even her son's bus stop for the rest of the year.

Tanya Sydney said she does not regret taking actions into her own hand to keep her son from being a victim.

Last week, fifth-grader Sovante Griffin told his Mom and Stepdad he was being bullied on the school bus. Sydney said he told her boys were hitting him, so she took matters into her own hands. She went to the bus stop the next day and confronted the bus driver.

"He told me 'I am doing the best I can, I can't be in 50 million places at once,'" Sydney said.

She then got on the bus and yelled at the two boys that Griffin said were the bullies.

"Specifically to the two boys I said you need to keep your hands to yourselves," she said.

The driver ordered her off the bus. She and Griffin then walked to Lake Nokomis Community  School. Sydney said when she and Griffin got to school they were met by the school's police liaison officer, the principal and a transportation supervisor.

Sydney said the supervisor pulled out a photograph of another African-American woman who he said he created a disturbance on a school bus last year.

"That is when the transportation guy apologized and said 'I assumed you were the woman from last year,'" she said

Her son and the two bullies later had to apologize to each other. Sydney got a letter from the principal saying she is banned from school grounds and the bus stop for the rest of the school year.

"It's mindboggling," she said.

She has filed an appeal to the year-long ban with the Minneapolis School Board. Sydney said she does not regret her actions.

"There are too many stories of children getting bullied. I don't want it to get to the point were he is scared to get on this bus and he can't be successful," she said.

Griffin has gotten back on the bus this week and has been going to school without incident. The school district released a statement on the matter Wednesday, saying they can't comment on the incident because of data privacy laws.

"Because of data privacy laws, we are unable to share any particulars about this matter. For the safety of students and staff, we are committed to following the MPS policies regarding bus protocol, including only allowing MPS students to board school buses; it is not our protocol to allow parents or other adults to board school buses. Maintaining a safe and secure environment in the school district, including our school buses, is a top priority.

Minneapolis Public Schools encourages parents to contact their school immediately if there are bullying concerns. Our schools take allegations concerning bullying very seriously and have a protocol to address these types of situations," the statement reads.

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