BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana’s educators are launching a program aimed at shrinking out-of-school suspensions by giving K-12 school administrators, principals and counselors more training to meet students’ social and emotional needs.

The new initiative comes amid data showing more than twice as many Black students are suspended than their white peers. The Advocate reports the program aims to show adults and students how to set goals, show empathy for others and make responsible decisions. Public school leaders will receive 30 hours of training. State figures show nearly 38,000 Black students received out-of-school suspensions during the 2018-19 school year and 16,000 white students.

Black and white students make up roughly the same percentage of the public school student population.

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