Minnesota student’s adult store field trip to the Smitten Kitten has left their parents outraged.
Fox News reports that Gaia Democratic School director Starri Hedges, and the school’s sex-ed teacher, took a group of around 12 middle and high school students to the Smitten Kitten last week as part of a lesson on learning about human sexual behavior. The student’s adult store field trip apparently capped off a month-long sexual education class.
She said the field trip offered the students a safe and welcoming environment, and also allowed them to have access to products that would allow them to perform safe sex, noting that many of them purchased condoms.
“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 told the Star Tribune on Monday.
According to Hedges, the group sat in the front part of the store, and all pornographic material was off limits. However, sex toys and other items were in plain sight for the students to see. The Smitten Kitten describes its store as “a progressive sex toy store for everyone,” and they frequently offer “workshops” like the kids 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.”
While Hedges claims the trip was purely for educational purposes, the student’s parents were not thrilled to hear about their adult store field trip.
“It’s just a major breach of trust,” Lynn Floyd, whose 11- and 13-year-old daughters were a part of the group, who visited the Smitten Kitten, said. “You just can’t erase those images.”
Floyd said he was only notified of the trip after his daughter’s told their mother. Both parents immediately pulled the girls, along with their other daughter, 9, out of the school. Floyd says he can’t believe that the parents were not notified that their children were going to the store.
“I just struggled to think that I wasn’t involved in that,” he said.
Smitten Kitten’s owner, Jennifer Pritchett, released an e-mailed statement on Monday saying she considered her store to be “an educational resource about sex and sexuality … 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.”
Following the controversy, Hedges said she probably won’t ever take another field trip like that.
“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,” Hedges said.
What you you think about the student’s adult store field trip? Would you be outraged as a parent? Leave your comments below.
[Photos via Facebook / Smitten Kitten]