Jahi McMath, declared brain-dead last year, to get honorary diploma

Jahi McMath, the 13-year-old Oakland girl who was declared brain-dead in December, will “graduate” from middle school in absentia after administrators decided to grant her family’s request for an honorary certificate.

Jahi’s uncle, Omari Sealey, told ABC7-TV that officials at E.C. Reems Academy of Technology and Arts “will be honoring” the teen on Friday with the graduation certificate, which will be accepted by a family member.

Sealey had complained on his social media accounts earlier in the week, saying school officials were reluctant to honor the family’s request because they had received “too many complaints” about displaying anything regarding Jahi.

Jahi was an eighth-grader when she underwent surgery in December to remove her tonsils, adenoids and uvula at Children’s Hospital & Research Center Oakland. After three days of complications, she was declared brain-dead by multiple neurologists.


Despite the determinations, her family eventually won permission in court to move her body to an undisclosed facility, where she has been kept on a ventilator.

Jahi’s family has not disclosed the exact condition of her body since she was moved to the facility. In interviews, Jahi’s mother, Nailah Winkfield, has said she refuses to refer to her daughter as being brain-dead, and maintains that “she will have a recovery.”

Experts have told The Times that bodies of the brain-dead have been maintained on respirators for months or, in rare cases, years. However, once cessation of all brain activity is confirmed, there is no recovery.

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