By Parker Marie Molloy
Originally published on Advocate.com March 25 2014 2:22 PM ET
An 8-year-old girl has been removed from from a Virginia Christian elementary school after school personnel chastised her for "exhibiting an alternative gender identity."
Sunnie Kahle happens to like sports, wearing sneakers, and getting her hair cut short. For the first portion of the school year, Kahle attended Timberlake Christian School in Timberlake, Va. But then her grandparents received an unexpected letter from school administrators.
"You're probably aware that Timberlake Christian School is a religious, Bible-believing institution providing education in a distinctly Christian environment," the letter read, noting biblical condemnations of homosexuality, "sexual immorality" and gender nonconformity before going on to inform Kahle's grandparents that Kahle would not be welcomed back at the start of the 2014-2015 school year.
"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 letter continued.
Kahle identifies as a girl, consistent with what her school deemed as her "God-ordained identity." She is not transgender, though the letter sent to Kahle's grandparents makes it clear that transgender students would similarly be denied admission.
According to one school administrator who would not speak on camera to Roanoke's WSET TV, the school acknowledges that Kahle was a good student, but claimed that her gender expression "disturbed the classroom environment."
After receiving the letter and being incensed at what they believe is unnecessary policing of their granddaughter, Carroll and Doris Thompson removed Kahle from parochial school and enrolled her in a public school.
But the Thompsons told WSET that Kahle cries as she gets on the bus in the morning, and that she returns home crying, because she can't be with her friends at Timberlake Christian School.
Watch WSET's report below:
WSET.com - ABC13