This past May, a private school in Minneapolis received complaints from parents after its sexuality education class was taken on a field trip to the Smitten Kitten, a local sex toy store. The school, Gaia Democratic School, follows a teaching philosophy that, according to their website, values "academic freedom, youth empowerment, democratic education, and environmental stewardship." Despite this progressive attitude, however, many parents felt that this particular field trip crossed a line, and was not age-appropriate. Some parents even pulled their children from the school. One filed a police report accusing the school's leadership of explosing children to pornographic materials.
Following the controversy, license and zoning inspectors visited the store and cited owners with various code violations. The Smitten Kitten is now required to rearrange the store in order to comply with zoning rules.
As the store is a well-known bastion of progressive sexual education (and representatives even appeared as vendors at the AASECT Annual Conference), it's interesting to consider the implications of this incident in regard to our culture's attitudes toward what constitutes the appropriate dissemination of sexuality information. It's also fascinating to see a teacher pushing the boundaries of educational technique so thoroughly, whether or not you consider the aforementioned field trip to be age-appropriate.
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