The U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights is asking the Hillsborough County school district if it treats its black students differently.

According to partner newspaper the Tampa Bay Times, the agency is asking the school district to answer 42 questions within 15 days regarding an allegation that it is shortchanging minority students.

The allegation came to light after a former teacher said black students get harsher punishments and that students at low-income schools are denied access to experienced teachers.

The investigators want copies of disciplinary policies and detailed information on how they are carried out, criteria for referring a student for discipline, and examples of positive behavior programs.

They also want to know about staff training, use of school resource officers and details about record keeping.