Journal of African American Studies

, Volume 20, Issue 2, pp 152–163 | Cite as

From Under-Diagnoses to Over-Representation: Black Children, ADHD, and the School-To-Prison Pipeline

  • Myles Moody


This study argues that the under-diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactive disorder in Black children is a result of racism that is structurally and institutionally embedded within school policing policies and the tendency to not recognize Black illness. The purpose of this research is to examine how micro-processes lead to structural inequality within education for Black children. It seeks to better understand how institutional racism and flawed behavioral ascriptions lead to the under-diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD) in Black children and how that may also contribute to their over-representation in the “school-to-prison pipeline.” The goal of this study was to review ethnographic, empirical data and examine the ways (1) how racism within some schools may contribute to the under-diagnosis of ADHD in Black children, (2) how their under-diagnosis and lack of treatment leads to their over-punishment, and (3) how they are over-represented in today’s school-to-prison pipeline phenomenon, possibly as a result of such disparities.


Under-diagnoses ADHD Children Racial disparities Disabilities Discipline School-to-prison pipeline 



The author would like to acknowledge Zandria Robinson, Anna Mueller, and Wesley James for their advisement during this study.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The author declares that there is no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of KentuckyLexingtonUSA

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