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

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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.

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

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Correspondence to Myles Moody.

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Moody, M. From Under-Diagnoses to Over-Representation: Black Children, ADHD, and the School-To-Prison Pipeline. J Afr Am St 20, 152–163 (2016).

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