Mom Fighting for the Right to Let Her 11-Year-Old Son Die on School Grounds

willy pickett

Willy Pickett, 11, is terminally ill due to a rare brain disorder ... and getting worse by the day. Yet even though his Ann Arbor, Michigan parents have placed a Do Not Resuscitate order on their son in the event that his heart stops beating, the school he attends has refused to honor the family's wishes, saying they are duty-bound to keep him alive.


Willy has lissencephaly, a rare condition that keeps the brain from developing properly. As a result, he can't speak or control his arms or legs, suffers numerous seizures per day, and requires near-around-the-clock care from his mother, Dawn Krause, and his two older siblings.

About two years ago, it became clear that Willy's health was deteriorating, so Krause made the painful decision to instate a DNR order where if his medical condition caused him to suffer a heart attack or stop breathing, professionals would not interfere.

Yet Willy's school, High Point, has refused to honor this DNR request without a court order. So should something happen to Willy when he is at school, officials say they will try to save him, they simply cannot just let him die.

As a result, Krause has filed a lawsuit against Washtenaw Intermediate School District (which is in charge of High Point) in the hopes of reversing this decision. Check out a video of their heartbreaking story below:

To be honest, I can understand how, if this kid were dying, it would be very hard for a teacher or school official to just sit there and do nothing. That said, to live or die is as big a decision as it gets -- and as such, I think it's a decision that should be made by the child's parents, not the school.

More from The Stir: State May Let Toddler Die Despite Mom's Pleas

I can also understand from a pragmatic standpoint how the school wouldn't want to be held liable for letting a child die on their watch unless it were crystal clear that those were the parents' wishes. But couldn't that be cleared up with some legal paperwork? Isn't that was lawyers are for?

This is a heartbreaking, complex situation that is not simply black and white -- on either side -- but this school needs to show some compassion and flexibility for this family. Willy's condition is such that his parents thought long and agonizingly hard about his fate, keeping his quality of his life at the forefront when deciding what they feel is best for her son in the end. That should be honored above all else.

Do you think the school should respect the parents' wishes? Why or why not?


Image via MLive

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