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                                                                 January 11, 2020

                                                   By: Attormey Deborah G. Stevenson


There is an article about the very tragic case of a child’s death at the hands of an abusive father in the news.  


You can read the article here:



NHELD (National Home Education Legal Defense, LLC), hopes you take the time to read the article, and also to think critically about it.

So many things are wrong with this article, that I hardly know where to begin.  
First of all, this has nothing to do with homeschooling.
How do I know that?
If we can take the “facts” reported in the article at face value, the article says two things:


“Collins died on Dec. 13, 2019, a year and a half after relatives pulled him out of Dayton Public Schools to for home-schooling.”




“Police say Collins suffered from years of extreme abuse by his father, and that the boy showed signs of being severely beaten.”


If both “facts” are true, obviously this is not about homeschooling.  

The child was “pulled” from public school for homeschooling only “a year and a half” ago. But “police say” the child “suffered from years of extreme abuse by his father”.  

Logic dictates, then, that the abuse was occurring well before any homeschooling.
In fact, it was occurring while the child was enrolled in the public school.


Apparently, enrollment in the public school, under the so-called watchful eyes of all the folks in that school, including possibly the school social worker and guidance counselor, did not prevent the child from undergoing “years” of abuse.


How do I know that?  I know that because the article says,

“Teachers at Collins’ school had repeatedly called authorities about the matter in 2018, but authorities closed the investigation after their house calls went unanswered.”


Assuming those “facts” are accurate, the teachers in the public school knew about the abuse, apparently for years.  They, rightfully, reported the abuse to the proper “authorities”.  Nonetheless, the child continued to be abused.

The public school teachers could not prevent it.


This is a story about abuse.  It is not a story about the type of education the child was receiving while he was being abused.


Obviously, the type of education the child was receiving had absolutely nothing to do with the child being abused.  


What the heading of this story should be is this:  
Despite having sufficient laws on the books to prevent abuse of children, and despite having established a plethora of “authorities” to investigate reports of child abuse, and to ensure the safety of a child alleged to be abused, the “authorities” failed to do their job again, and another child is dead because of it.


Each state has laws against child abuse. 

Each state has “authorities” dedicated to investigating child abuse and preventing harm to the child. 

Those laws are designed to investigate child abuse wherever it occurs, regardless of the type of education a child receives.


The problem lies not with the laws.  In addition, of course to the abuser, the problem lies with those charged with enforcing and implementing those laws.


Read the most crucial phrase in the story again.  It is this:  “but authorities closed the investigation after their house calls went unanswered”.  


If that “fact” is accurate, the “authorities” seemed to have knocked on the door of the house where the child lived, and when no one opened the door, they went away.  
They “closed” the case.  

That’s dereliction of duty.  

Those “authorities” who just went away and “closed” the case when the abuser failed to open the door should be fired.


As an attorney, I know that there are many things those “authorities” could have, and should have, done to prevent that child’s further harm.

One very simple thing that they could have done is this: 

Assuming they had more than enough probable cause to believe the child was being abused, since the public school teachers “repeatedly” called them and told them he was being abused because “the boy showed signs of being severely beaten”, the “authorities” could have gone to a judge and asked for a court order to enter the home to view the child, or to take temporary custody of the child for a physical examination.  At the very least, at any point, those “authorities” had sufficient probable cause to ask the police to do a “welfare check” on the child.  

If the “facts” in the article are accurate, apparently the “authorities” did not even do that.


Everyone is innocent until proven guilty, and time will tell whether the father was the abuser.  If he was, then he should be punished to the full extent of the law.  

However, the abuser is not the only one to be blamed here.  


The “authorities” also share the blame. 

They knew about the abuse. 

They failed to take the steps they could have. 

A child is dead as a result.


This is not about homeschooling.  It’s not about public school.  This is about the evil of child abuse.  But it’s also about properly implementing the laws against child abuse that already exist.  


We trust our “authorities” to do their job.  Once again, they have failed to do so.  A child is dead because of it. 

His name was Takoda Collins.  Never forget that name.  He didn’t deserve to die.


Unfortunately, this same thing happened in Connecticut not long ago.  That child’s name was Matthew Tirado.  Never forget his name either.  He also didn’t deserve to die.
His abuser was punished.  


The “authorities” in Connecticut, who also failed to do a “welfare check” on the child, and walked away when the abuser did not open the door, have not been punished.
They have not even been fired.


Will those “authorities” in Ohio be punished for not doing their job?
Will they even be fired?

Will the people of Ohio stand up and demand the “authorities” come to terms with their failures?


 Or, will they be duped by headlines highlighting the type of education the child received, and allow the “authorities”, once again, to go unpunished for their failures and their part in the death of yet another child?


Time will tell. 


                                  Permission is granted to share this article in its entirety.

Attorney Stevenson is the founder of National Home Education Legal Defense, LLC. (NHELD)

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