A Colorado man claims he was forced out of his job as a volleyball coach at a religious high school because of his sexual orientation. Several students walked out of their classes in protest of the coach’s departure.
Colorado volleyball coach says he was forced to quit his job at Christian High School because he is gay
Inoke Tonga, 30, said officials at Valor Christian High School in Highlands Ranch confronted him last week about whether he had posted about being gay on social media, he wrote in an Aug. 21 Facebook post.
Tonga, who joined the school as an assistant coach for the boys volleyball team last spring, told CNN that during the meeting he expected to be offered the head coaching position for the team that opened during the summer.
Instead, however, Tonga claimed he was asked several times if he had “had any lifestyle changes” or if he had ever posted inappropriate content on social media, he wrote in his lengthy Facebook post.
“Of course, I said no, I’m not one to post anything on my social networks that is inappropriate. I was finally asked if I did an interview or posted anything about being gay. My answer was yes,” he continued, adding. that then “the floodgates opened and the questions came pouring in.”
Tonga said he eventually received an ultimatum: denounce his sexuality or leave office.
School officials confirmed the meeting to NBC News, but said Tonga left of his own accord. “Following this discussion, Coach Inoke provided a statement to Valor in which he concluded that he does not support Valor’s beliefs and requested a separation from Valor,” the statement read.
Several Valor Christian students walked out of classes Tuesday in protest of Tonga’s departure. According to Denver7, an online posting announcing the walkout stated that the event was organized by students to “show support for all LGBT+ students and show the administration that discrimination and bigotry will not be tolerated.”