The Carson City School District, in Nevada’s capital, has been faced with controversy involving high school student enrollment in dual-credit courses offered by Western Nevada College (WNC).
In a course covering human sexuality taught by WNC Communications instructor Tom Kubistant, a continuing education student has objected to assignments requiring disclosure of personal sexual information. The student, Karen Royce, is a 60-year-old medical technician who alleges that Kubistant assigned students to double their masturbation habits over the course of two weeks and turn-in journals about their experiences. Royce has filed a harassment complaint with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights, and in doing so has created a challenge for the Carson City School District. 1
The district has permitted high schoolers to enroll in some WNC courses for dual credit as they pursue college degrees while completing their high school diplomas. Royce’s allegations have led some school policy stakeholders to argue that Kubistant’s course is not in compliance with state law regulating the content of sexual health instruction for public school students. State and local education authorities are considering revoking the dual-credit option, leaving Carson City high school students with no college-level alternative for sexuality education.
Royce noted in her complaint, "I joked, but was serious and said, 'I don't masturbate, so zero times zero is zero! [Kubistant] became angry and ordered the class to masturbate if they intended to pass the class." She says that when she asked Kubistant for an alternative assignment, he refused. 2
A WNC spokesperson said an independent investigator determined that Royce's harassment allegation was unfounded, and noted that Kubistant has taught the class three times a year for seven years and has never had a complaint.
1 “Woman's Complaint about WNC Sex Class Gets the TV Treatment,” CarsonNow.org, 16 November 2011, accessed 20 December 2011,
2 “Lawsuit vs. School Cites Masturbation Assignment,” AZCentral.com, 9 November 2011, accessed 20 December 2011, <http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/2011/11/09/20111109nevada-student-lawsuit-over-sexuality-class.html>.