A sex education teacher has drawn the ire of parents after taking middle school and high school students on a field trip to an adult novelty store in Minneapolis. Gaia Democratic School Director Starri Hedges took about a dozen students to the Smitten Kitten last week. Hedges tells the Star Tribune that she wanted to provide a safe environment for students to learn about human sexual behavior. Besides offering adult books, videos, toys, and other products, the store also has educational workshops, which the students attended. Hedges says that she "unfortunately didn't communicate well enough with parents ahead of time" about the trip. Pornographic items were off-limits to the children, Hedges says, but sex toys and other products were visible.
One parent has withdrawn his daughters, ages 11 and 13, from the small school because they were taken on the field trip without his knowledge. It's not clear whether the trip broke any laws. A city ordinance says those younger than 18 should not be exposed to "sexually provocative written, photographic, printed, sound, or published materials deemed harmful to minors." Minnesota Department of Education spokesman Josh Collins says the state has no authority over the school because it's private. But "I don't think anybody would think that going to the Smitten Kitten is a great idea," he notes. The K-12 school has a motto that promises academic freedom, youth empowerment, and democratic education. Parents say it has about 25 students.