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Christian school says 8-year-old girl looks and acts too much like a boy

"God has made her female and her dress and behavior need to follow suit with her God-ordained identity."
Tuesday, March 25, 2014
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Jill Nance, The News & Advance (AP) Sunnie Kahle, 8, recently withdrew from Timberlake Christian School in Forest, Va. after the school sent a letter asking her to either dress and act more feminine or not enroll again because she looked too much like a boy.

Jill Nance, The News & Advance (AP)

Sunnie Kahle, 8, recently withdrew from Timberlake Christian School in Forest, Va. after the school sent a letter asking her to either dress and act more feminine or not enroll again because she looked too much like a boy.

TIMBERLAKE, Va. — An 8-year-old girl in Timberlake, Va., is has been yanked from a Christian school after her grandparents received a warning letter that the girl’s appearance “confused” other students as to whether she was a girl or a boy.

Doris and Carroll Thompson say Timberlake Christian School told them their granddaughter Sunnie Kahle, who they have adopted and are raising, didn’t follow the school’s “biblical standards” of appearance, and that she would be refused enrollment next year if she didn’t comply, reports WSET-TV.

Jill Nance, The News & Advance (AP)Sunnie Kahle

Jill Nance, The News & Advance (AP)
Sunnie Kahle

Principal Becky Bowman wrote that students were confused about whether Sunnie is a boy or girl, and 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.

“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 Thompsons have since found another school, but they didn’t go quietly. After being told by lawyers that they have no grounds for a lawsuit because Timberlake is a private school, the Thompsons have gone public with their complaints.

“I don’t see nothing Christian about it,” 66-year-old Carroll Thompson said in an interview at the family’s house just outside Lynchburg, home of Liberty University, the Christian school founded by the Rev. Jerry Falwell.

Doris Thompson said Sunnie would grow her hair so she could return to Timberlake, but her husband said that’s “out of the question.”

Sunnie’s troubles at Timberlake began in pre-kindergarten after she cut her hair to donate it to a program that provides wigs for cancer patients, Doris Thompson said. Around then, she started wanting boys’ clothes.

“A teacher told me I was the parent and I needed to control her, and if she didn’t obey I needed to take her in the bathroom and whip her butt,” Thompson said.

Rather than just dismiss the teacher’s concerns, she asked the family doctor for advice. “He said, ‘Leave that child alone!’” she said.

Afterward, Thompson said the teacher told her: “You need to find a Christian doctor.”

More on the story from WSET-TV:

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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