Private School at Unitarian Church Takes 11-Y-O Students on Sex Shop Field Trip; Parents Withdraw Kids Citing 'Breach of Trust'

Credit :

Concerned parents have withdrawn their children from a small private K-12 school housed in a Unitarian church in Minneapolis after the school's sex education teacher took her class on a field trip to a local novelty sex shop without first consulting parents and obtaining permission from them.

As reported by the The Star Tribune, Starri Hedges, the sex education teacher and director of the Gaia Democratic School, has come under the scrutiny of parents after she took about a dozen middle school and high school-aged students as young as 11 years old on a field trip to the nearby Smitten Kitten adult novelty store.

Hedges told the Tribune that she wanted to take the students to the store to provide them with a welcoming environment to learn about human sexual behaviors, as the class' sex education unit came to an end.

Get Our Latest News for FREE

Subscribe to get daily/weekly email with the top stories (plus special offers!) from The Christian Post. Be the first to know.

The store sells pornographic materials, condoms, sex toys and a range of other kinky sex-related items, and also offers workshops that teach people how to have safe sex.

Although the children were not allowed to see any of the pornographic items sold in the store, sex toys were reportedly visible to them and a few of the students left the store having purchased condoms, Hedges said.

Hedges explained that the main purpose of the trip to the store was so that children would have access to the store's sex educators to teach them about the importance of having safe sex and the products needed to do so.

"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 explained. "The sexual health aspect, there is no right age for all kids. 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."

Despite the fact the Hedges felt it was in her students' best interest to take them to the sex store, Lynn Floyd, whose 11 and 13-year-old daughters both went on the trip, told the Tribune that he was not informed about the field trip until his daughters told their mother that the school took them to the store when they got home that day.

"I just struggled to think that I wasn't involved in that. It's just a major breach of trust," Floyd said. "You just can't erase those images."

"I wanted our children to grow up and remain children as long as possible," Floyd added in an interview with a local Fox affiliate.

As the field trip has been widely circulated in the news, the school released a statement on its website backing Hedges' decision.

Credit : (Photo: Facebook/Smitten Kitten)
(Photo: Facebook/Smitten Kitten)

"Despite the burst of publicity in our last weeks of school, Gaia Democratic School's board of directors stands behind the premise of the field trip; we view it as a legitimate learning experience that relates directly to topics covered during our year­long sexual health class," the statement reads. "Our in-­class discussions paved the way to a store visit and the participants communicated to us that the trip was a positive educational experience. No student was required to attend."

Floyd, along with his ex-wife, have withdrawn their children, including a 9-year-old who did not go on the field trip, from the school, which parents claim only has about 25 students in total.

Additionally, Floyd has filed a police report with local police stating that the school exposed minors to pornographic materials, although Hedges said the pornographic materials were kept off limits to the children. Floyd is also considering filing a lawsuit against the school, according to Fox 9.

"I don't see how [Hedges] can be able to continue to lead children in this manner," Floyd contended. "All you had to do was ask us and this whole situation would have went a completely different way."

In a statement, Smitten Kitten owner, Jennifer Pritchett, wrote that even though the store is an educational resource for learning about human sexuality, the store's policy is to "leave it up to the discretion of parents and guardians as to when, if, and in what capacity [their children] seek resources from our educators."

Hedges even admits that she "unfortunately didn't communicate well enough with parents ahead of time."

Although the school itself has no religious affiliation, the school is reportedly housed on the campus of the Unitarian church on Mt. Curve Avenue in Minneapolis. All emails and phone calls by The Christian Post in attempts to reach the First Unitarian Society of Minneapolis for comment were not returned.

Was this article helpful?

Help keep The Christian Post free for everyone.

By making a recurring donation or a one-time donation of any amount, you're helping to keep CP's articles free and accessible for everyone.

We’re sorry to hear that.

Hope you’ll give us another try and check out some other articles. Return to homepage.