John M. Becker

Christian School Tells 8-Year-Old Girl She's Too Butch

Filed By John M. Becker | March 25, 2014 5:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Fundie Watch, Living
Tags: bullying, Christian schools, Christianists, gender binary, gender identity, gender norms, gender stereotypes, stereotypes, Virginia, wingnuts

sunnie-kahle-bullied-christian-school.jpgIn the latest example of a school bullying an elementary-aged child, the principal of a Christian school in central Virginia told the family of an eight-year-old girl that her look wasn't feminine enough and that if she didn't bring her gender expression into line with "biblical standards," they'd kick her out.

To their credit, little Sunnie Kahle's grandparents, who are her legal guardians, pulled her out instead and enrolled her in public school.

WSET-TV reports:

Doris and Carroll Thompson are Sunnie's grandparents. They adopted and raised the little girl and took her out of Timberlake Christian School when they received a letter from the school's K-8 Principal.

"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 [sic] or alternative gender identity.

The letter goes on to reference specific Bible verses that affirm these beliefs.

The letter reads in part, "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 TCS is not the best place for her future education."

Among the allegedly "un-biblical" things about Sunnie that TCS objects to are her short hair, pants, sneakers, and love of sports and playing outside. Needless to say, Sunnie's grandparents were aghast. "How do you label a child, eight years old, or discriminate against an eight year old child?," her grandfather Carroll Thompson asked.

Grandmother Doris Thompson adds: "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."

Doris tells WDBJ that while she believes Sunnie is too young to understand sexual orientation and gender identity, if she comes out later in life she will have her unconditional support: "If my child grows up to be homosexual or transgendered, I will love her that much more," she said.

Even though Sunnie's new public school seems like a much better fit for her, leaving her old school has been tough for her: her grandparents say she cries every morning and every afternoon because she misses her friends.

Gosh, I sure hope that picking on an eight-year-old girl makes the administrators of Timberlake Christian School feel extra super holy...

Watch WSET's report on Sunnie Kahle, after the jump. - ABC13

h/t: The New Civil Rights Movement.

This article has been updated to include Doris Thompson's quote to WDBJ.

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