Brain-Dead California Teen to Get School Diploma

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Jahi McMath, 13, was an eighth-grader at E.C. Reems Academy of Technology and Arts when she underwent surgery in December to remove her tonsils, adenoids and uvula, at Children’s Hospital & Research Center in Oakland. After three days of complications, she was declared brain-dead.

Now, the family of McMath is lobbying her school to issue an honorary diploma. With her class currently preparing to graduate on Friday, the family is reportedly asking that Jahi be remembered at the ceremony with an honorary diploma.

Her uncle, Omari Sealey, posted a message Tuesday on his social media accounts, saying school officials were resistant because they had received “too many complaints” about displaying anything regarding Jahi.

At least three neurologists confirmed that Jahi was unable to breathe on her own, had no blood flow to her brain and had no sign of electrical activity in her brain. Her family eventually won permission in court to move her body to an undisclosed facility, where she could be kept on a ventilator.

Jahi’s family has not disclosed the exact condition of her body since she was moved to an undisclosed facility. In recent interviews, Jahi’s mother, Nailah Winkfield, has described her as being “asleep.”

In an interview last March, Winkfield refused to believe her daughter was brain-dead. “I don’t use the word ‘brain dead’ for my daughter. I’m just waiting and faithful that she will have a recovery,” Winkfield said. “She is blossoming into a teenager before my eyes.”

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