A federal complaint accuses public schools in Virginia's capital city of more frequently and more harshly punishing black students and those with disabilities than their classmates.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia and the Legal Aid Justice Center filed the complaint Wednesday with the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights on behalf of two students and the Richmond branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

They're asking federal officials to investigate Richmond Public Schools' disciplinary policies and force the school system to make changes.

Leslie Mehta is legal director of the ACLU of Virginia. She says the groups are seeking "justice, equality and fairness."

A spokeswoman for Richmond Public Schools didn't immediately return an email and telephone message on Wednesday.