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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Duval County Public Schools is suspending black students at nearly double the rate of similarly-sized school districts in Florida, according to records reviewed by the Tampa Bay Times.

The Times said efforts to get those records directly from the school district hit a roadblock when school officials told reporters it would take a top-level staffer 80 hours spread over five weeks along with $3,000 to produce the records.

Instead, the newspaper got the records from the Florida Department of Education.

"Examining these records last week, the Times found that Duval's rate of giving black students in-school suspensions was the highest of the state's large urban districts in the 2011-12 school year. In fact, Duval County schools handed in-school suspensions to about 19 percent of its black students that year -- almost double the average rate of suspensions among the state's other big districts," the newspaper reported.

First Coast News has been in contact with the school district. We'll update this story when we have a response.

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