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OAKLAND--The family of Jahi McMath, the Oakland girl declared brain-dead after a complex tonsil surgery last December, is pushing her school to grant her an honorary diploma, the family said Tuesday.

McMath, 13, was a eighth-grader at E.C. Reems Academy of Technology and Arts when she was taken to UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital for a complex trio of surgeries to help her deal with sleep apnea, weight gain and other health problems. She had attended the school since kindergarten.

But McMath suffered cardiac arrest and was declared dead by doctors, setting off a battle between the family, who insisted she be kept on machines to keep her organs functioning, and hospital officials, who said she could not be revived. A judge eventually allowed the family to remove her from the hospital; she was transferred to an undisclosed facility out of state, where she was kept on breathing and feeding tubes.

This undated file photo provided by the McMath family and Omari Sealey shows Jahi McMath. The family attorney of the California girl declared brain dead
This undated file photo provided by the McMath family and Omari Sealey shows Jahi McMath. The family attorney of the California girl declared brain dead after a tonsillectomy says she has been taken out of Children's Hospital of Oakland. (AP Photo/Courtesy of McMath Family and Omari Sealey, File)

Now McMath's family has reached out to school officials to ask the public charter school to award McMath an honorary certificate at its eighth-grade graduation ceremony Friday. McMath's uncle, Omari Sealey, tweeted Tuesday afternoon that school was resisting, saying that officials "said they received too many complaints about displaying anything about Jahi McMath."

Later Tuesday, he told a Bay Area News Group reporter that he had been in communication with the school's executive director, Lisa Blair, and that Blair and members of the school's board of trustees would discuss the matter on a phone conference Wednesday.

"It would be an awful shame not to grant Jahi McMath an honorary 8th Grade Graduation Certificate when Kermit the Frog has an honorary Doctorate from Southampton College in New York," Sealey added via text.


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Officials at the school did not respond to requests for comment Tuesday.

Follow Karina Ioffee at Twitter.com/kioffee.