Tapestries: Interwoven voices of local and global identities


This article explores the over- and under-prescription of psychotropic medication to youth of color both in public schools and the foster care system. Under the umbrella of the schools-to-prison pipeline, there is a wide array of literature addressing the under-use of medication for treatment of children of color in the public school system when treating learning or behavioral disabilities. There is also, however, a great deal of literature in a totally different realm surrounding the under-use of medication in treating mental health disorders in the foster care system. This article aims to put these two pieces of discourse in conversation with each other. In examining the use of medication in both of these institutions and the disproportionate rate of black and brown children in the foster care system, I analyze how race, class, and gender play a role in the prescription—or lack thereof—of medication for children of color. These contradicting approaches to treatment and medication illustrate the assumptions that are attached to children of color, and how these institutions ultimately were not made for children of color to survive or thrive. To better serve the needs of children in our country, these two institutions must be considered as co-actors in the system of perpetual social control exerted of youth of color.

Author Biography

Sarah Nemetz ‘18 is a graduating senior at Macalester College. She currently resides in Saint Paul, Minnesota and is originally from Newton, Massachusetts. She will graduate with a major in American Studies and a minor in Arabic Studies. Through her time in college, she has been interested in music as resistance, police accountability practices, the prison system, and the way that civil and human rights interact in the U.S. context.