Sunnie Kahle, age 8, is quite the tomboy. The western Virginia girl likes to wear jeans and sneakers, and keeps her hair cropped short. Her appearance could actually result in her being expelled from Timberlake Christian school.
According to the school's guidelines, enrollment can be refused to students who live in, condone, or support "sexual immorality; practicing homosexual lifestyle or alternative gender identity; promoting such practices; or otherwise having the inability to support the moral principles of the school."
The principal said some kids at the school are confused as to whether Sunnie is a girl or a boy. But Sunnie isn't. She knows she's a girl and proud of it.
Sunnie's grandparents - her legal guardians - have chosen to take Sunnie out of that school. But the message is clear - conform or leave.
The principle said, "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."
Huh? Did you know America that short hair, jeans and sneakers are sexually immoral?
Obviously the principle needs to read his bible and study his history. Jesus had long, black, curly hair - he would have been labeled a hippie back in the day. Women at that time covered their heads much like Muslim women do today. They also didn't wear dresses with tights and Maryjane's; they covered their entire bodies - both Christians, Jews and others in that day.
A lot of things bother me about this. One, Sunnie is adopted, and I am the mother of an adopted son. Adopted children often suffer with their identity, and forcing them to be anyone other than who they truly are (and wearing short hair, jeans and sneakers doesn't make you gay or transsexual, by the way).
Another reason I am angered by - Sunnie is 8. How many of you have an 8-year-old? My son is about to turn 7 and my daughter 6. My daughter likes to dress like an ice princess since she saw Frozen. But I'm not concerned she'll continue to dress that way. It's her age, a phase and part of her personality, which I strongly encourage her to explore.
I live in Los Angeles, a city where children as young as my daughter struggle with issues about their weight, how pretty they are, their appearance, etc. Teaching our children to be themselves and to be proud of being different is essential.
I don't want all girls to look like Barbie. And in trying to do so, we have higher rates of anorexia, bulimia and other eating disorders compared to other industrialized nations.
This isn't just labeling a child; this is discrimination of a child. Does God only love long-haired little girls with pink bows in it? Please. I doubt God's that shallow.
What this school is doing is not only not Christian; it is harmful to that little girl. They are rejecting her, or at least that is how she will see it...and she will remember it her whole life.
Schools have the right to make rules and have dress codes. Parents, or in Sunnie's case, grandparents, have the right to choose what schools their children attend.
But this is a case of blatant homophobia. It's a situation where this little girl could simply be a tomboy who wants to dress like her grandpa to gain his approval and his love.
Sunnie cries because she misses her friends. That that is abusive, in my opinion. Aren't schools there to educate? Or has the Christian school system taken on the role of fashion designer while I wasn't looking?
Ah, love and forgiveness. Judge not lest ye be judged. True Christian Values - not.
Leslie Marshall is a nationally-syndicated talk show host (M-F 7-10 p.m. EST). She regularly appears on Fox News, including the O'Reilly Factor, and Hannity. She's been named one of The Magazine's 50 most influential women. Follow her on Twitter at @LeslieMarshall.