Sunnie Kahle prefers her short haircut, T-shirt, and jeans to a more “girly” image, and because of this Timberlake Christian School in Forest, Virginia, threatened to not invite the 8-year-old back in the fall.

In a letter sent to Kahle’s guardians—Carroll and Doris Thompson, her grandparents who adopted and are raising her—the school says:

“You’re probably aware that Timberlake Christian School is a religious, Bible believing institution providing education in a distinctly Christian environment.

We believe that unless Sunnie as well as her family clearly understand that God has made her female and her dress and behavior needs to follow suit with her God-ordained identity, that TCS is not the best place for her future education.”

The letter goes on to warn the Thompsons that administrators can refuse enrollment for “condoning sexual immorality, practicing a homosexual lifestyle or alternative gender identity,” and also states that Kahle is a distraction in the classroom, as her appearance confuses classmates.

Similarly, in Grand Junction, Colorado, 9-year-old Kamryn Renfro was barred from school early this month for shaving her head in support of a friend with cancer. Caprock Academy found the child’s bald head in violation of their dress code, “which was created to promote safety, uniformity, and a non-distracting environment for the school’s students.”

Caprock Academy has since allowed Renfro to return to school. The Thompson’s immediately removed their granddaughter from TCS and enrolled her in public school.

What message are we sending young girls about their appearance? Why do we put such an emphasis on how they wear their hair?