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Christian group blames ‘restroom concerns’ for tomboy’s removal from private school

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The conservative Liberty Counsel made vague allusions to “sensitive” restroom use issues to defend a Christian school’s decision to bar an 8-year-old girl over her tomboy looks.

Timberlake Christian School notified Sunnie Kahle and her great-grandparents that she cannot return because her boyish appearance contradicts 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,” the school’s principal wrote in a letter.

Sunnie wears her hair short, collects baseballs and knives, and prefers to wear jeans and T-shirts, said her great-grandmother and legal guardian.

But the nonprofit legal organization defended the Forest, Virginia, private school, claiming media accounts had inaccurately described administrators’ decision to refuse the girl enrollment next year.

“This matter is far beyond a simple ‘hairstyle and tomboy issue’ as inaccurately portrayed,” the school said in a statement released through Liberty Counsel. “It is not about that at all. At no time did the Church or the School state or imply that S.K. was sexually immoral or the like.”

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School officials said in the statement they were limited in what information they could publicly disclose but implied there had been complaints about Sunnie’s presence in public restrooms.

“When elementary children and their parents or guardians express concerns regarding use of the restroom and other matters arising from the sensitive issues here,” officials said, “the School has a duty to address those concerns and to ensure that all interests are heard and protected in accordance with the Christian mission of the School.”

The Virginia-based Liberty Counsel has actively fought laws or policies allowing transgender students to use the restroom of their professed gender.

WDBJ-TV reported that parents complained to the school after their children said Sunnie had expressed an interest in gender reassignment surgery and a desire to use the boys’ restroom.

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Sunnie’s great-grandmother said the girl was too young to understand sexuality or gender issues, but added that she’d support her no matter what.

“If my child grows up to be homosexual or transgendered, I will love her that much more,” said Doris Thompson.

The school noted in its letter to Thompson and her great-granddaughter that students who did not know Sunnie were confused whether she was a boy or girl, and officials said they understood was undergoing counseling about her gender identity.

“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,” the school said. “This includes, but is not necessarily limited to, living in, condoning or supporting sexual immorality; practicing homosexual lifestyle or alternative gender identity (or) promoting such practices.”

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Sunnie has withdrawn from Timberlake and enrolled in a public school, but the girl wishes things could have worked out differently.

“I should just be able to be me and not let them worry about it,” Sunnie said.

Watch this video report posted online by WDBJ-TV:

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Senator Elizabeth Warren leads Democrats in spirited first 2020 debate

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Ten Democrats clashed in the first debate of the 2020 presidential race Wednesday with Elizabeth Warren cementing her status as a top-tier candidate and several underdogs using the issue of immigration to clamor for the limelight.

The biggest American political debate since the 2016 presidential campaign is occurring over two nights in Miami, climaxing Thursday with former vice president Joe Biden squaring off against nine challengers, including number two candidate Bernie Sanders.

But Wednesday's first take was a spirited encounter between Democrats like ex-congressman Beto O'Rourke, Senator Cory Booker, former San Antonio mayor Julian Castro and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio on subjects as varied as health care, economic inequality, climate action, gun violence, Iran and immigration.

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Here are 4 winners and 9 losers from the first 2020 Democratic primary debate

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With ten candidates on stage Wednesday, the opening debate of the 2020 Democratic primary in Miami was a packed mess. And this was only the first course in a two-part event — 10 more candidates will debate on the following night.

A crowded field makes it difficult to stand out, and that means that even after a big night like a debate, the most likely result is that not much changes. But the debate was still significant, giving candidates the chance to exceed, meet, or fall below expectations for their performances.

Here's a list — necessarily subjective, of course — of the people who came out on the top when the dust was settled, and those who came out on the bottom.

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Here are 3 ways Julián Castro stood out in the first Democratic Debate

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There were many predictions going into the first Democratic debate on MSNBC, but no one predicted that Julián Castro would break out from the crowd.

Check out the top three ways Castro stood out from the crowd.

Immigration:

The former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development was the outright winner of the immigration section of the debate

It should "piss us all off," Castro said about the father and his little girl who were found face-down in the shores of the Rio Grande River this week. “It’s heartbreaking."

Castro is a second generation American who got into specifics on immigration policy, calling for an outright "Marshall Plan" style of action for Guatemala and Honduras. He joined with other Democrats calling for an end to President Donald Trump's family separation policy, but he then suggested ending the "metering" of legitimate asylum seekers.

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