- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 2, 2015

The director of a small Minneapolis private school took middle and high school students to an adult toy shop last week as part of a sex education lesson, outraging parents who said they only learned of the trip after the fact.

Starri Hedges, the director of Gaia Democratic School who also teaches the school’s sex education class, said the trip to Smitten Kitten was to provide a safe environment for students to learn about sexual behavior, The Star Tribune reported.

“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,” Ms. Hedges told the paper.

Gaia is a K-12 school that touts academic freedom and democratic education. Parents say the school has about 25 students, including several described by administrators as transgender, The Star Tribune reported.

Lynn Floyd, whose 11- and 13-year-old daughters attended the field trip, said he is most outraged that parents weren’t notified beforehand.

Ms. Hedges said she contacted Smitten Kitten staff Wednesday to arrange the visit, but “unfortunately didn’t communicate well enough with parents ahead of time,” she told The Star Tribune.

Ms. Hedges said students sat in the library section of the store where sex toys and other products were also visible. The students were educated on products that could be used to practice safer sex, and some of them even bought condoms, Ms. Hedges said.

The backlash from parents has caused Ms. Hedges to rethink the trip.

“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,” she told The Star Tribune.

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