I am very angry about the sensationalized headline that was chosen for the lead article Nov. 30, “A childhood full of red flags leads to charges of arson, murder.

What was reported in the article does not indicate anything in the ongoing trials and tribulations of Dylan Collins’ childhood that would indicate this tragic outcome.

As a child-adolescent psychiatric nurse practitioner, I have seen many special-needs children who have similar challenges over many years. In support of Collins and others like him, one cannot conclude from the contents of the article that his life was “full of red flags.”

This is tremendously overreaching and inaccurate. This type of headline can cause unnecessary fear in parents and stigmatization of a child by the community. Only this last year shows a tremendous shift in Collins’ life and the red flags that are a prelude to this outcome.

What is evident from the article that needs highlighting is the failure of public schools to protect and nurture the precious lives of special-needs children.

My practice is full of wonderful children whose public schools are not havens, but a system that cannot change its culture to help every child be accepted by peers and teachers alike.

Dylan Collins suffered years of dehumanizing daily verbal and physical assaults that no child should have to suffer in the name of education. The daily pain experienced in school cultures causes depression, anxiety and anger, regardless of predisposition.

Communities need to be aware of the culture of schools and proactive in demanding a culture of acceptance and tolerance.