Timberlake, VA - Sports, sneakers, and short hair; it's what makes eight year old Sunnie Kahle unique. It's also what had her removed from Timberlake Christian School. Her grandparents pulled the plug on her time there after they said she was no longer welcome.
The family received a letter telling them that if their eight year old granddaughter didn't follow the school's "biblical standards," that she'd be refused enrollment next year. She's out and in public school now.
Sunnie Kahle has short hair and a huge heart, and as far as her grandparents are concerned, she is a completely normal little girl.
"She 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," said Doris Thompson.
Doris and Carroll Thompson are Sunnie's grandparents. They adopted and raised the little girl and took her out of Timberlake Christian School when they received a letter from the school's K-8 Principal.
"You're probably aware that Timberlake Christian School is a religious, Bible believing institution providing education in a distinctly Christian environment," read Doris from a part of the letter.
The letter goes on to say that students have been confused about whether Sunnie is a boy or girl and specifies that administrators can refuse enrollment for condoning sexual immorality, practicing a homosexual lifestyle or alternative gender identity.
The letter goes on to reference specific Bible verses that affirm these beliefs.
The letter reads in part, "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."
"How do you label a child, eight years old, or discriminate against an eight year old child? It just don't happen" said Carroll Thompson.
"Sunnie says, 'I'm a girl, I know I'm a girl' and she said then you know, you're acting like and looking, and wanting to look and act like a boy" said Doris.
An administrator from Timberlake Christian, said the problem with Sunnie goes "far beyond her hair length" and that the little girl is a good student, but that "things disturbed the classroom environment."
"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? I can't do that" said Doris.
School administrators said they have not accused Sunnie of being anything or anyone and simply asked that her family follow the guidelines they set forth for all students. The Thompsons say they have no desire to re-enroll Sunnie at Timberlake Christian