The director of a small Minneapolis private school thought it would be a fantastic idea to take a bunch of middle and high schoolers to a sex toy shop — without the consent of their parents. She wanted to provide a safe and welcoming environment for students to learn about human sexual behavior, and what better place to do that than one that has multi-color dildos and bondage gear on display? I mean, they’re going to learn that flavored lube exists eventually, right? Why not when they’re 11?
Gaia Democratic School is a very small, independent private school that accepts students from kindergarten through 12th grade. About a dozen students attended the field trip to the Smitten Kitten adult shop.
Director Starri Hedges told the Star Tribune, “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.” That’s amazing. But maybe you could have asked their parents if they were okay with their kids having this “shameless and fearless” sex talk surrounded by anal beads. Hedges says the students sat in the front in a library section of the store and that “everything deemed pornographic” was off limits, though sex toys and other products were visible.
Look, I’m no prude. I happen to love sex toys, sex shops, and think sex-positive education for teenagers is brilliant. But I also think parents of 11 and 13-year-olds should be handed a permission slip that says, “Hey! Are you okay with your child going to an adult toy store to have sex education class? Cool! Sign here.” The fact that this didn’t even cross her mind shows a lack of judgment that is troubling.
The store’s owner told the Tribune that the Smitten Kitten leaves it up to “the discretion of parents and guardians as to when, if, and in what capacity they seek resources from our educators.” It seems strange that any school, private or public, would take students off school grounds without a signed permission slip — sex toys or not.
Lynn Floyd, a parent who pulled her kids from the school after learning about the trip told the Star Tribune, “It’s just a major breach of trust.You just can’t erase those images.” Her 11 and 13-year-old daughters were part of the outing.
“It was certainly the first time we have taken that kind of field trip and it will probably be our last, which I feel bad [about] because the kids had so much fun,” school director Hedges said.
She feels “bad.” I’m pretty sure the parents who’ve enrolled kids in a private school that shows such a gross lack of judgment feel worse.