This Tomboy Was Kicked Out Of School For Defying 'God-Ordained' Gender Roles


One of the best lessons we can teach our kids is to love themselves and to be themselves. Unfortunately for one 8-year-old, her school decided she was doing both of those things wrong.

Sunnie Kahle likes the things kids like: sports, sneakers, being with her friends. She also cuts her hair short. She identifies as a girl, but for administrators at Timberlake Christian School in Timberlake, Va., her appearance introduced too much confusion among her fellow students. Kahle, who lives with her grandparents, received a letter from the school saying that her gender expression "disturbed the classroom environment," and that if she did not alter her appearance and behavior to better align with her "God-ordained identity," she would not be welcomed back.

The letter included Bible verses to support its position, apparently completely glossing over everything Jesus ever said about love and acceptance.

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Kahle's grandparents refused to fall in line with the school's demands and enrolled her in a public school, but Kahle remains distraught. She misses her friends and cries frequently. Still, her guardians believe that asking her to change everything about herself is a poor lesson, and too high a price to pay.

"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?" said her grandmother, Doris Thompson. "I can't do that."

Eight-year-old Kahle is hardly the first kid lately to be targeted for gender policing. Nine-year-old Grayson Bruce faced bullying by his own school in North Carolina for his My Little Pony lunchbox.

Bruce's treatment sparked a backlash, with thousands coming to his defense, including the head writer of the My Little Pony show, Meghan McCarthy. 

So far, it seems a similar show of Internet support may be building for Kahle.

Forcing a child out of school is more than just a nuisance — it can hurt students for years. Elementary school can be a crucial first step in a child's development of gender identity and kids need to feel safe to be themselves in a place where they spend so much time.

As for Timberlake Christian School, an institution that believes a child can encourage "sexual immorality" needs to re-examine its priorities — and maybe take a second look at the Bible.