It is with a heavy heart that I inform you that some people who run “Christian” schools are actually enormous dicks.
Eight-year-old Sunnie Kahle is no longer a student at Timberlake Christian School in Lynchburg, Virginia, after administrators sent a letter home to her guardians complaining she doesn’t dress or behave “feminine” enough, like wearing pants with her school uniform. Her grandparents, who are her guardians, pulled Sunnie out of Timberlake and enrolled her in public school instead of forcing her to be someone she is not.
Sunnie is a tomboy with a big, infectious smile who wears short hair (she donated her longer hair to kids with cancer!) and comfy clothes like jeans and T-shirts to run around outside. But elementary principal Becky Bowman from Timberlake Christian School wrote in a letter to Sunnie’s grandparents that perhaps it’s “not the best place for her future education” if Sunnie can’t conform to the Biblically-based gender identity they dictate:
“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.”
In other words, the grandparents won’t force Sunnie to “behave like a girl” at the school’s insistence, so Timberlake just wants them all out of their hair. The school administrators released a statement to the media stating, “We are heart-broken that Sunnie’s grandparents have made her the subject of a public discussion.” Way to throw a couple of elderly folks caring for their grandchild under the bus, Christians!
Sunnie’s awesome, loving grandma and grandpa are Christians, too. They let their granddaughter play with any toy that piques her interest: baseballs and dolls, coins and jewelery, hunting knives and stuffed animals. “Sunnie realizes she’s a female but she wants to do boy things,” her grandma Doris Thompson told WDBJ news. “She wants to play rough and tough.” Like the great parents that they are, the Thompsons understand that being a boy or a girl shouldn’t dictate how a child should play and learn. They’ll also love their granddaughter no matter what. “If my child grows up to be homosexual or transgendered, I will love her that much more,” Doris told WDBJ7.
My heart goes out to Sunnie for enduring this bigotry, especially when she’s just trying to be a kid! Her grandma said Sunnie “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.” The other kids, I bet, don’t care whether Sunnie’s hair is short; she told WDBJ7 news that kids would occasionally ask her if she was a boy or girl, but it didn’t hurt her feelings. It’s the administrators — and probably some kids’ parents — who are freaked out by the questions being asked and would rather make Sunnie change or leave than provide answers that might challenge their worldview.
Talk about missing the forest for the trees: picking on an eight-year-old girl and her grandparents in the name of Christianity is hurtful, embarrassing, and decidedly un-Christian. Sunnie has incredible grandparents who are the true model of love.
Email me at Jessica@TheFrisky.com. Follow me on Twitter.