The investigation follows a federal civil-rights complaint alleging districtwide discrimination by the Spokane schools’ former director of special education.

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SPOKANE — The U.S. Department of Education is investigating how Spokane Public Schools handles special education after the former director of that program filed a federal civil-rights complaint.

Laura Pieper alleges districtwide discrimination against special-education students.

The Spokesman-Review reports that Pieper was put on paid administrative leave in May, and then left the district late last year.

Spokane Public Schools officials would not comment on the complaint or why Pieper was put on leave. The district says it is cooperating with the investigation and officials are independently reviewing district special-education policy.

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights opened the investigation on May 29.

Pieper’s complaint contends the district treats special-education students differently than general-education students in how they’re assigned to classes.