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Feds investigating alleged school discrimination

(AP) Federal officials are opening an investigation into accusations that public schools in Virginia’s capital city more frequently and more harshly punish black students and those with disabilities than their classmates.

The Department of Education’s Office For Civil Rights said in a letter this month that it’s opening an investigation into the complaint filed in August by the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia and the Charlottesville-based Legal Aid Justice Center.

The complaint alleges that black students in Richmond Public Schools and those with mental, emotional or physical disabilities are more likely than white students to be suspended or expelled.

The civil rights office said the opening of the investigation “in no way implies” that it has determined the allegations have merit.

A Richmond Public Schools spokeswoman said she couldn’t immediately comment Monday.

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