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Home / Sexuality / Sex Education / Teacher Takes Students on a School Trip to Sex Toy Store
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Teacher Takes Students on a School Trip to Sex Toy Store

gaia-democratic-school  Teacher Takes Students on a School Trip to Sex Toy Store gaia democratic school A school field trip to the Smitten Kitten adult toy store is raising some eyebrows, and may soon involve the Minneapolis Police Department. Smitten Kitten is a sex shop opened in 2003 and is committed to promoting “an inclusive, shame-free environment where it’s OK to talk about all kinds of consensual sex.” Besides selling sex toys, books and DVDs, the store offers free educational workshops. [2]  School leaders at Gaia Democratic School in Minneapolis still fully support the trip to the Smitten Kitten in Uptown, a self-proclaimed “progressive sex toy store for everyone.”  [1] The school’s director, Starri Hedges, defended the trip, saying that it was educational and that students were able to talk freely with the sex educators. [2] That support isn’t sitting well with Lynn Floyd, who at the time of the trip was sending his three kids to the school. He was so upset after learning two of his daughters, ages 11 and 13, were on that field trip, he pulled all three from the school. He also filed a police report, accusing the school’s leadership of exposing minors to pornographic material. Additionally, he is considering filing a lawsuit against the school.  “It’s just a major breach of trust,” said Lynn Floyd,  “You just can’t erase those images.” [3] Floyd said he originally enrolled his kids at the private school because of its emphasis on academic freedom and student-led instruction. The school, on its website, describes its philosophy as follows:  “Gaia is a private school that provides holistic educational services to students K-12 with emphasis on democratic process, individualized instruction, academic freedom, self-motivation, cooperative learning, youth empowerment, and environmental stewardship. We are part of an education movement that has a long, fascinating history and a vibrant, viable future.” [1]  Parents say the school has about 25 students, including several described by administrators as transgender. IRS records show the school, housed in a Unitarian church on Mount Curve Avenue, has an annual budget of about $100,000. [3]

gaia-democratic-crap  Teacher Takes Students on a School Trip to Sex Toy Store gaia democratic crap

Director Starri Hedges  Teacher Takes Students on a School Trip to Sex Toy Store starryedge

Director Starri Hedges

Floyd claims this field trip crossed a line.  “I wanted our children to grow up and remain children as long as possible,” Floyd said.  Floyd said last week, the school’s sex education teacher took about a dozen middle and high school students — Gaia is a K-12 school — to the store. His kids came home and shared what they had seen, but he didn’t know anything about the trip before it was already over. Then, Floyd withdrew his daughters, including a 3-year-old who also attends the school.  [1] Director Starri Hedges, who also teaches the school’s sex education class, said she wanted to provide a safe and welcoming environment for students to learn about human sexual behavior.  “What I saw happening on our trip, I thought it was beautiful because kids could talk to these sex educators without any shame, without any fear,” Hedges said Monday. [3] While at Smitten Kitten, students sat in the front in a library section of the store, Hedges said. Everything deemed pornographic was off limits to the students, though sex toys and other products were visible, Hedges said. The field trip offered students access to educators and products that could be used to practice safer sex, Hedges said. Some students bought condoms, she said. [3]  Smitten Kitten, which bills itself as “a progressive sex toy store for everyone,” sells a range of toys and leather products as well as books and DVDs. The store also offers workshops, like the kind the students participated in. “The sexual health aspect, there is no right age for all kids,” Hedges said. “You can’t say, ‘All kids should know this at this age.’ There are students that are already going through puberty at 10 or 11.” ­[3] Hedges has not admitted a mistake in taking the students there but said she should have communicated properly with parents, according to Minnesota Public Radio. [11] Pornographic items were off limits to the children, Hedges said, but sex toys and other products were visible. [8] The fact that Hedges thought a sex toy store provided a “safe environment” in which to talk about human sexuality is rather mind-boggling. It sounds more like the sex-ed version of Scared Straight. [14]

7950541_G  Teacher Takes Students on a School Trip to Sex Toy Store 7950541 GThe school board posted a letter to its website saying it stands behind the field trip and it views it as a legitimate learning experience that relates directly to topics covered during a year-long sexual health class.  “Despite the burst of publicity in our last weeks of school, Gaia Democratic School’s board of directors stands behind the premise of the field trip; we view it as a legitimate learning experience that relates directly to topics covered during our year­long Sexual Health class. Our in­class discussions paved the way to a store visit and the participants communicated to us that the trip was a positive educational experience. No student was required to attend,” the statement reads, in part. [1]

FULL STATEMENT: [PDF]

Store owner Jennifer Pritchet  Teacher Takes Students on a School Trip to Sex Toy Store damnhippie

Store owner Jennifer Pritchet

It is not clear whether the field trip broke any laws.  According to Minneapolis city code, those younger than 18 should not be exposed to “sexually provocative written, photographic, printed, sound, or published materials deemed harmful to minors.”  Grant Wilson, Minneapolis business license manager, said that if a store had explicit adult toys in plain view that they shouldn’t be allowed to have minors in the store. He said he would deploy an inspector in the next few days to see if the store broke any laws. “Without looking at the laws or anything, that was poor judgment,” Wilson said. [3] The owner of the Smitten Kitten said in a statement, “the store is a resource for sound science based sex-ed information, and leaves it up to parents and guardians to use their discretion when seeking resources.” [1] “We leave it up to the discretion of parents and guardians as to when, if, and in what capacity they seek resources from our educators,” she said. In the wake of this “incident,” City officials sent a license inspector and a zoning inspector in plainclothes to Smitten Kitten on Tuesday after a Star Tribune news report about Gaia Democratic School bringing a sex education class to the store. [2]  Inspectors found that the store did not isolate sexually explicit materials in a separate section of the shop, as required by city code, said Grant Wilson, who oversees business licensing for the city. The store also had sexually explicit materials within view of minors, which is also a violation. [2] The store is being ordered to fix the problems, but no fines or other penalties have been issued, Wilson said.[2] A store clerk says they have since taken care of.  [1] Floyd remains upset and maintains he wants “justice.” [1]  Josh Collins, spokesman with the Minnesota Department of Education, said Gaia is a private school, so the state has no authority. “I don’t think anybody would think that going to the Smitten Kitten is a great idea,” he said.  After the controversy, Hedges said she probably would not take another class to the adult store. [6]  As for Hedges, she said she is disappointed that this will likely be the school’s last field trip to the store because “the kids had so much fun.” [6]

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[19] Marie Lodi, School Takes Students on Field Trip to Sex Shop, Jezbell, 6/04/15 11:50am
[20] School takes kids on ‘field trip’ to sex shop, WND, June 3 2015

 

About Bill Wallace

Bill Wallace is a self-fashioned writter, a computer programmer and cybermarketer from Quebec City, Canada who decided to enter the political arena after his disillusionment with the socialist system under which he was living in the French Canadian province of Quebec.