Eight-year-old Sunnie Kahle is unhappy these days. She no longer gets to go to her school where she has many friends. Every morning, Sunnie cries and pleads to her grandparents to let her get in to the bus that would take her to the Timberlake Christian School where she was enrolled, until a few days ago.
Sunnie's grandparents Doris and Carol Thompson have decided not to send her to the school anymore because of a letter received by the family recently. The letter signed by principal Becky Bowman of the school informed them that the school is not an ideal place for Sunnie's future education. The reason? Sunnie doesn't dress up like a girl!
According to The Daily Times, the letter says that Sunnie would be denied admission to the school the next year if she doesn't start dressing up like a girl. It reminds the Thompsons that the school is within its rights to refuse admission to a student if that student is "condoning sexual immorality, practicing a homosexual lifestyle or alternative gender identity promoting such practices; or otherwise having the inability to support the moral principles of the school." The letter goes on …
"You're probably aware that Timberlake Christian School is a religious, Bible believing institution providing education in a distinctly Christian environment. 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 also had a problem with Sunnie's co students being confused whether she is a boy or a girl.
Following the receipt of the letter, Sunnie's grandparents decided not to wait till the next academic year and stopped sending little Sunnie there. They have no plans to re-enroll Sunnie there next year either. And have planned to send her to a public school.
The deeply upset grandparents of Sunnie told a local TV station, "How do you label a child, 8-years-old, or discriminate against an eight year old child? It just don't happen. How do you tell a child when she wants to wear pants and 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."
The Thompsons assert that Sunnie is a normal girl and have dismissed the school's stand as totally unwarranted. They also say that the Sunnie is clear about her gender identity. "Sunnie says, 'I'm a girl. I know I'm a girl.'
Sunnie has been described by the Timberlake Christian School to be a good student. The problem, according to an unnamed school official extends, "far beyond her hair length".
The school authorities on their part have clarified that they are not making accusations against Sunnie and about her gender identity. They just want her family to follow the school guidelines.
This news about Sunnie's plight comes just days after another shocking instance of punitive action gone wrong where a student was suspended from school because she shaved her head in support of a friends chemotherapy treatment.
[Images via WSET, Yahoo News]