A federal court judge has put a stop to the Ferguson-Florissant School District’s conducting of school board elections after ruling that the political process is not set in support black voters.

In the ruling, U.S. District Court judge Rodney W. Sippell said, “it is my finding that the cumulative effects of historical discrimination, current political practices, and the socioeconomic conditions present in the District impact the ability of African-Americans in (the school system) to participate equally in Board elections.” It also stated that their election system violates the Voting Rights Act of 1865.

80 percent of students in the school district are black and 12 percent are white. Only 3 out of the 7 board members are black, and at the time of the lawsuit’s filing, only 2 out of the 7 were black. A University of Pennsylvania study shows that 68 percent of white children attend schools outside of the district.

The ACLU is recommending a neighborhood-voting system where voters would pick a representative from their area instead of the district-wide at-large voting system that is currently in place.

Until a new system is implemented, the district cannot conduct elections.

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