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Department of Education to Investigate Alleged Discrimination in Richmond Schools

The Department of Education will investigate whether public schools in Richmond, Virginia, discriminate against black and disabled students, NBC reports.

The probe was announced today by the American Civil Liberties Union, which filed a complaint to the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights last August claiming that Richmond policies punish children with disabilities, as well as black students, more harshly and frequently than their peers. Citing data from Virginia’s Department of Education, the complaint alleges that, during the 2014–15 school year, black students made up 76 percent of the student population yet received 93 percent of the district’s short-term suspensions, 98 percent of long-term suspensions, and 97 percent of expulsions. Students with disabilities, the complaint states from the same data, made up 16 percent of the total population while receiving 31 percent of short-term suspensions, 30 percent of the long-term suspensions, and 63 percent of expulsions.

As of today, NBC was waiting on comment from Richmond Public Schools.