Timberlake Christian School in Lynchburg, Va. has taken a stand against an 8-year-old girl, whose dress and grooming is not in line with the school’s Christian ideals. Sunnie Kahle has been booted out of her private catholic school and told not to come back until she learns how to be “feminine.”
According to MSN Living on Wednesday, the school sent a letter to the grandparents of the adopted girl. The letter “criticized Sunnie for confusing the other students about her gender identity, and went on to imply that the child was sexually immoral. The school referenced Bible versions they interpreted to affirm Christianity’s opposition to homosexuality and alternative gender identities.”
Sunnie’s choice of dress – jeans and muddy sneakers most days – and cropped hairstyle is decidedly “boyish,” but she is not “gender confused,” and although she’s only 8, does not identify with any sort of alternative or gay lifestyle.
Nevertheless, the letter from school administrator Becky Bowman says that she must dress in accordance to the way “God made her.”
“We believe that unless Sunnie as well as her family clearly understand that God has made her female and her dress and behavior need to follow suit with her God-ordained identity, that [Timberlake Christian School] is not the best place for her future education,” the letter read.
The grandparents have since enrolled Sunnie in a public school, where they say she endures daily teasing and ostracism because she looks like a boy. Sunnie longs to go back to her private school to see her friends.
“She cries every morning to get on the bus, she cries when she comes home because she wants to go back to Timberlake Christian with her friends,” grandmother Doris Thompson said, adding that they have no interest however in appealing the school's decision after the way Sunnie was treated.
According to Sunnie, she says, “I'm a girl, I know I'm a girl,” as if any other option is ridiculous. She says if she wants “to go out and play in the mud” then people should just leave her alone.
WSET.com out of Virginia picks up Sunnie’s story:
“You're probably aware that Timberlake Christian School is a religious, Bible believing institution providing education in a distinctly Christian environment,” read Doris from a part of the letter.
The letter goes on to say that students have been confused about whether Sunnie is a boy or girl and specifies that administrators can refuse enrollment for condoning sexual immorality, practicing a homosexual lifestyle or alternative gender identity.
The letter goes on to reference specific Bible verses that affirm these beliefs.
An administrator from Timberlake Christian, said the problem with Sunnie goes "far beyond her hair length" and that the little girl is a good student, but that "things disturbed the classroom environment."
"How do you tell a child when she wants to wear pants a shirt, and go out and play in the mud and so forth, how do you tell her, no you can't, you've got to wear a pink bow in your hair, and you've got to let your hair grow out long, how do you do that? I can't do that" said Doris.
What are your thoughts on this little girl’s plight? Leave your comments below.