Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Two appearance related news stories that frost my buns...

For the past few days, I've really been on a religion/adoption kick.  But that doesn't mean I haven't been  reading other news stories.  One of the main reasons I am so eager to move overseas again is that the United States is ever wackier as extreme people keep trying to take over the country.  We've got extremely liberal people trying to force everyone to be tolerant and politically correct about everything under the sun.  And we've got lots of extremely conservative people trying to force everyone to live by what they deem Biblical principles.  These two extremes in thought are constantly clashing and causing issues for those of us who are moderate and just want to get on with life with as little fuss as necessary.

In the past few days, there have been two stories about kids going to private schools being refused admission for not fitting in the normal parameters of appearance.  I decided to post about them here, since they sort of fit in with the theme I've unofficially been running for the past few days.  

The first story is about an 8 year old girl from Virginia who was attending a private Christian school.  Raised by her grandparents, Sunnie Kahle is a typical cute girl who likes sports, sneakers, jeans, and t-shirts.  She has short hair and looks like a tomboy.

Sunnie's grandparents, Doris and Carroll Thompson, received a letter from Sunnie's school, Timberlake Christian School, indicating that she should attend a different school because she doesn't appear to accept her "God-ordained identity" as a girl.  The powers-that-be at this school apparently think little Sunnie isn't feminine enough.

What is the purpose for an 8 year old child to look girly?  What is that all about?  Isn't looking girly all about being attractive to boys?  At 8 years old, isn't Sunnie kind of young for that kind of pressure?

I get that it's a Christian school and many Christians are not all that tolerant of people who don't fit their rigid ideas of what's right and what's not.  But hell, lots of girls don't like wearing dresses.  Lots of women don't like wearing makeup or bras.  It doesn't mean there's anything "weird" about them.  I'm guessing this is more about Sunnie being a bad influence toward other little girls because she's not as feminine as they are.  Obviously, they are afraid Sunnie might be gay and will turn other kids gay.  And that's just a bunch of nonsense.  Nobody chooses to be gay.

Sunnie's grandparents took her out of the school and they say she's very upset about not attending since all her friends go there.  I'm hoping she gets to go to a better school where people are a little more tolerant of people who are different.  The folks at Timberlake Christian School seem to need a lesson in what Jesus would do rather than applying their legalistic moral code to the way they think an innocent 8 year old child ought to look.

ETA: Since I posted this, Timberlake Christian School has issued a press release which doesn't say a whole lot and actually left me with a worse impression than the original media coverage did.  I have a friend who lives near where this school is and knows someone who knows the family involved.  As usual, the press has done some spinning and there is a lot more to the story that what has been reported. Based on what my friend tells me, it sounds like Sunnie may be transgendered.  If that's the case, she should definitely be in another school.

Moving on, in Grand Junction, Colorado, 11 year old Kamryn Renfro decided she wanted to show support to her bald, cancer-stricken, best friend, 11 year old Delaney Clements.  In a generous show of solidarity rare in kids, Kamryn decided to shave her head.  Delaney loved what her friend did.

But then Kamryn tried to go back to school at Caprock Academy and was not allowed in.  Why?  Because her bald head violated the school's dress code.  Caprock Academy appears to be a charter school, which means that it's a tuition free alternative to public school.  In this case, it appears that school administrators have a policy that is intended to keep order and they applied it without using common sense.  That's a common issue in education today.

I can see why school officials don't want to have kids doing extreme things to their appearances.  While having a shaved head is probably okay for little boys and must be fine for cancer patients, it's definitely noteworthy when a girl does it.  I can understand why they would hesitate to encourage that, since it very well might cause a commotion that detracts from the learning environment.  On the other hand, it's just hair… and the reason Kamryn did it is beautiful and ought to be encouraged.  It's rare for a child to show that kind of selfless compassion toward a friend.  I think that is a much bigger issue than the risk that Kamryn's bald head might briefly cause a ruckus at school.  The kids will get used to the baldness anyway.

This isn't a case of a kid trying to attract attention to herself by getting a bunch of tattoos, dying her hair hot pink, and wearing a nose ring.  It's about a girl being very kind and empathetic to her friend and supporting her in her illness.  At least the officials at Caprock Academy seem to be applying common sense now, which is more than I can say for the folks that run Sunnie's former school.

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