SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Springfield school leaders decide not to vote on a controversial change to bring the district in line with federal law.

For more than a year, schools have been trying to decipher a USDA policy, saying discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity is now a Title IX violation and could result in districts losing millions in federal funding, particularly for free and reduced school lunches.

The vote would have decided whether or not to add the words “gender identity and sexual orientation.”

At the meeting, the board motioned to table the issue of both policy changes until the board decided to bring the issue up again.

The proposed policy change stems from a requirement by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for districts participating in receiving the $7 million for the federal free and reduced-price lunch program.

“We’re saying is that the USDA has required us to place these in our policies in order to continue to receive funding,” one board member said.

“The USDA’s guidance is a clear attempt to bully good Americans into accepting beliefs regarding sex and gender with which they disagree,” another board member said.

In September, the board was split 3-3 on the update. School board president Danielle Kincaid emphasized the importance of involving all seven members in the decision, leading to a revisit in tonight’s meeting.

“If the term ‘sex’ already includes gender identity and sexual orientation, what’s the harm in actually adding those four or five words if you use the word? It’s not taking away any additional control because it’s already there,” one school board member said.

Most students in the district qualify for free and reduced-price meals.