Some parents are outraged after the leader of a small Minneapolis private school took about a dozen middle- and high-school-aged students on a sex education field trip to an adult novelty store late last week.
“It’s just a major breach of trust,” said Lynn Floyd, whose 11- and 13-year-old daughters were part of the outing to the Smitten Kitten. “You just can’t erase those images.”
A leader of Gaia Democratic School and the host of the field trip defended the outing, saying the visit capped a monthslong sex education class.
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.
Gaia is a K-12 school with a motto promising academic freedom, youth empowerment and democratic education. 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.
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.