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What do you think of a school telling a child she is not feminine enough?

by Jennifer Muirhead (follow)
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louis XV
Portrait of Louis XV of France as a child, dressed according to the custom for small boys at the time. Painting by Pierre Gobert (16621744).


Timberlake Christian School in Virginia recently told the family of an eight year old girl that she was not following the school's "biblical standards" because she has short hair and likes to wear trousers. This led to the girl's removal from the school because her grandparents felt she was no longer welcome there.

Was the school within their rights do this? What message does it send to other students and to the rest of the world? Does it bother you to see little girls wearing trousers or, conversely, little boys wearing skirts?


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I don't know whether the school had a legal right to do what they did. If it was in Australia I think it would probably violate anti-discrimination laws, but it was in the USA, and religious institutions there often get away with stuff that secular institutions couldn't. Regardless whether it was legal or not it was a rotten thing to do to make a little girl feel ashamed or lonely just for being different.

The school seemed to be implying that Sunnie (the girl) was a lesbian or was pretending to be a boy. That seems bizarre to me, since plenty of grown women have short hair and wear trousers but aren't thought to be gay or in drag. If it's not an issue for a grown woman, why is it for a child? An eight year old shouldn't have to worry about things like her sexuality yet. She's a child. She's at school to learn and play, and shorts are very practical play clothes. Short hair is practical too, as it saves time brushing and caring for your hair, especially for school aged kids who are likely to get head lice at some point.

I really don't get why people have a problem with little boys wearing skirts either. Sure, here in Australia it's less common, but there are places where men wear skirts as a matter of course (you get sarongs on men in the tropics, kilts on Scots etc.). It certainly doesn't make sense to object to that on Biblical grounds. Jesus didn't wear trousers. What he wore was basically a dress.
nothing to do with biblical for me -just do not like it and particularly on a child and for no reason.
by Finy
For no reason? What would you consider to be a good reason?

My two year old son occasionally asks to wear his sister's skirts, so I let him. If I wear a skirt it's because I feel like it, or because I'm hot and wearing a skirt is cooler. I don't expect my son to have any more of a reason than that to pick one item of clothing over another.
it is just my PERSONAL feeling, and we all have different opinions on all things (luckily), so I am only stating what I feel.....it is OK at home but I would not have liked my young boys going to school in a skirt-MY OPINION -we dont all think alike.
by Finy
Oh, sure, you're entitled to your opinion, I was just curious why you think that.
Well done; they've probably given that child self-esteem issues for the rest of her life. I am absolutely disgusted by this, and am shocked that they weren't done for discrimination and sexism. Where in the bible does it say woman shalt not wear trousers? It is this kind of backward thinking that makes me loathe religion, and it is one of the reasons why the world is in such a mess.
I cannot believe that this has happened. What a travesty: I have not heard about such 'biblical standards'. Let kids wear what they want; their time to grow up and conform to societies expectations will come soon enough. I wish the little girl and her family well and congratulating them on sticking by their guns.
by Vee
This is absolutely ridiculous!
No, the school has no right to do this.

Of course it is OK for any sex to wear pants however I do not agree with boys wearing skirts.
by Finy
Why not?
Boys should be allowed to wear skirts just as much as girls should be allowed to wear trousers. I don't see the difference.
Ah Yes! the land of ''Extreme''.

One Father a few months ago went to the school his child was at, because he did not pick the child up in a special area! but went to the school office...he was arrested.For just going to the office, and early.

Nothing shocks me, if it comes from the US...Having lived there, where
my husband and I were in a restaurant to have a meal,and were not allowed to eat with other diners!
We were taken to a closed off section.
why?...well we were never told.
My husband being American, told me not to make a fuss.
Because I am white, and my husband black.That's in Palm Springs,some
years ago. LOL what a joke.
No it's wrong what happened to the little girl, but they make it up...as they go!
Believe me.
I think girls look fine in pants....not too sure about boys in skirts.


I'm surprised they did that! The closest thing my daughter's school has to a skirt is a skort, and I couldn't find one at the designated uniform shop because they only stock shorts for boys and girls so had to buy it somewhere else.

A kid needs to be comfortable in what they're playing in and if a little girl wants to wear trousers or shorts than it isn't anybody's business really. Schools generally do have uniform policies so it's worth checking these out before you enrol to make sure you agree with them.
Though I've never seen a uniform policy enforcing hair length on a girl, that's a weird one. Maybe she just didn't like being hot or has unruly curly hair which is easier kept short.
It was an American school. I think most of them don't have uniforms, just guidelines as to what students are allowed to wear.
I thought this was only prevalent in old times, say around 20 years back or even better in medieval times where they had certain ground rules for masculine/feminine behaviors. In any case, no matter when it was said, it's absurd. All human beings share traits with the opposite sex until they at least attain puberty and in some it can continue in to late teens. And most kids don't even identify their sexuality (physically) unless they've been taught to.
I guess the school needs a major royal reality check!
Either the person needs a knock or the school needs to be dealt with legally to prevent such ideas from spinning out of control!
From wha tI read, there was way more to the story than how she looked. As a teacher, reading between the lines, it sounded like some inappropriate behaviour was involved.
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