Surprised no one's mentioned this, but a Christian school in Virginia is in the spotlight after all but forcing an eight-year-old student to leave because she looks like a boy. Eight-year-old Sunnie Kahle has had her hair cut short since she was five years old, and makes no secret she's a tomboy. Well, Sunnie's appearance didn't sit too well with administrators at Timberlake Christian School in Forest, near Lynchburg. Last month, her grandparents pulled her out of school after she was told her appearance didn't line up with "biblical standards."
"Sunnie realizes she's a female, but she wants to do boy things," said Doris Thompson, Kahle's great-grandmother and legal guardian. "She wants to play rough and tough."Read the letter Bowman sent here. It implies that Sunnie is being "counseled" about her gender identity. Thompson was gobsmacked. She said that Sunnie is way too young to understand things like sexual orientation, and suspects the real reason is that she wanted to wear boys' pants with her school uniform. In a reply of her own, Doris tore TCS a new one, pointing out that Sunnie is actually being counseled for mood swings. Soon afterward, she pulled Sunnie out of TCS and enrolled her in public school.
Thompson has raised Kahle since she was an infant. When she turned five, Thompson said she asked for a short hair cut.
"She had hair down to her waist and she wanted to give it to a child with cancer," said Thompson. "After we cut her hair she started wanting to wear jeans and a t-shirt. She didn't want to wear her frilly dresses anymore."
Her appearance started leading to awkward questions at school.
Kahle said her classmates would occasionally ask if she was a boy or a girl, but she said the question did not hurt her feelings.
The issue caught the attention of administrators at Timberlake Christian School, where Kahle was a student.
Elementary principal Becky Bowman sent home a letter last month, reminding Thompson of the school's religious affiliation and it's right to refuse students who contradict a "biblical lifestyle."
"We believe that unless Sunnie and 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 TCS is not the best place for her future education," Bowman wrote in the letter, which was given to WDBJ7 by Thompson.
TCS' response is par for the course in an area of the country where a woman or girl with short hair is automatically suspected of being a lesbian. Also, according to the school's Website, it is an outreach of Timberlake Baptist Church, an independent Baptist church in Lynchburg.
Yesterday, after several days of being kicked up, down and sideways over this, TCS went up the highway and asked Liberty Counsel to help defend it. In a response released through Liberty Counsel, TCS claimed that it never called Sunnie sexually immoral, and that the real locus of the dispute is that Sunnie reportedly wanted to use the boys' bathroom. Sorry, but TCS is lying. What conclusion are you supposed to draw from this paragraph in the letter that Thompson got from the school?
You’re probably aware that Timberlake Christian Schools is a religious, Bible-believing Institution providing education in a distinctly Christian environment, and we believe that our biblical role is to work in conjunction with the home to mold students to be Christlike, On those occasions in which the atmosphere or conduct within a particular home is counter to or in opposition to the biblical lifestyle that the school teaches, the school reserves the right, within its sole discretion, to refuse admission of an applicant or to discontinue enrollment of a student. This includes, but is not necessarily limited to, living in, condoning or supporting sexual immorality; practicing homosexual lifestyle or alternative gender identity; promoting such practices; or otherwise having the inability to support the moral principles of the school. We base this standard on Bible principles as found in Leviticus 20:13a; Romans 1:21-27; Matthew 19:4-6; and I Corinthians 6:9-20.What makes this even more disgusting is that this whole thing arose because a little girl wanted to donate her hair to another child who was fighting cancer. For my money, little Sunnie has more Jesus in her than the entire leadership of Timberlake Baptist and TCS has between them. TCS has the right to set standards like this. And we have the concurrent right to hold them up for the ridicule they deserve.