BALTIMORE — School officials in Baltimore are issuing suspensions and expulsions less frequently than a year ago.

The Baltimore Sun reports ( ) that the change is part of a reform effort to emphasize conflict resolution and keep kids in school.

The paper reported Tuesday that there were 6,800 suspensions and expulsions in Baltimore city schools in the most recent school year. That’s nearly a 20 percent drop from the 8,500 suspensions and expulsions in the prior year.

School officials believe the suspension rate will continue to drop as more individual schools move away from a zero-tolerance policy.

Black students are still suspended more frequently than their peers — 9.5 percent for blacks compared to 3.25 percent for whites, and 2.8 percent for Hispanics.

Information from: The Baltimore Sun,

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