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Feds Investigate Claims that Black and Disabled Students Face Harsher Discipline in Richmond

The U.S. Education Department will investigate allegations of discrimination against African American students and students with disabilities in Richmond public schools.

The investigation by the department’s Office of Civil Rights follows a complaint filed in August on behalf of two students and the Richmond chapter of the NAACP, by the Legal Aid Justice Center and the ACLU of Virginia. The complaint alleged that the school system’s discipline policies unfairly punish students who are black and students with disabilities more harshly than others.

It cited state statistics that black students with disabilities were nearly 13 times as likely as non-disabled white students to be punished with short-term suspensions in the 2014-2015 school year.