An 8-year-old girl in Virginia has been told that she can not return to her Christian school because she defied “biblical standards” by looking like a boy.
Doris Thompson told WSET that her granddaughter, Sunnie Kahle, was forced to enroll in public school and has been refused admission for the next school year until she can express the proper gender identity.
“You’re probably aware that Timberlake Christian School is a religious, Bible believing institution providing education in a distinctly Christian environment,” a letter from Timberlake Christian School’s principal said.
According to WSET, the letter said that school rules said that students could be banned for “condoning sexual immorality, practicing a homosexual lifestyle or alternative gender identity.”
“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,” the principal wrote.
Doris Thompson, who has adopted and raised her granddaughter, said that Sunnie is now in public school, and 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.”
“How do you label a child, eight years old, or discriminate against an eight year old child?” grandfather Carroll Thompson asked. “It just don’t happen.”
Officials at Timberlake Christian refused to comment on camera, but one administrator insisted to WSET that the problem with Sunnie went “far beyond her hair length” because her boyish looks “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,” Sunnie’s grandmother pointed out.
After their experience with Timberlake Christian School, Doris and Carroll Thompson said they had no plans to re-enroll Sunnie there next year.
Watch the video below from WSET, broadcast March 5, 2014.
[Ed. note: An earlier version of this report incorrectly said that Timberlake Christian School was in Tennessee]