Letter: Public cry for help

To the Editor:

On May 17 at 4 p.m. I entered the Ridgefield Library. As I walked through the first-floor lobby, I was shocked to see a large woman yelling very loudly at two small children in a foreign language. She would also take time to stare the children down with her hands on her hips and then they went into a fetal position, huddled on the downstairs steps whimpering. It did not seem to matter to her that people were all around watching.

A girl, about three, and a boy, six or seven, stood together and took the verbal abuse without acting out in any way. The boy would not lift his head and the girl looked around at everyone as if asking for help.  

This unusual behavior of yelling, staring, and huddling on the steps, continued for the entire 45 minutes that I was in the library. One man tried to intervene, and he was yelled at.  

Before leaving the library, I talked to the librarians. They called the head librarian and she had me fill out a report and called the police. Unfortunately, the police said they could do nothing unless I saw her physically hit one of the children.

It was now an hour-and-a-half later, and the woman was still yelling at the children. She was staring them down, and then going into a huddle on the side of the library. At this point, the children had tears in their eyes and were hugging each other tightly and avoiding the gaze of the woman.

That night I could not sleep as I continued to see the fear in the eyes of these two small children. I just wish I knew what I could do to help. I am a teacher and know how to report abuse, but I don’t how know to properly follow through and intervene. To me, this was a public cry for help.  

Dr. Darla Shaw

Barrack Hill Road, May 30