Inoke Tonga, a volleyball coach at Valor Christian High School in Denver, wrote in an Instagram post on Sunday that he was forced to resign from his job when school officials learned that he is gay.
Tonga said that the school’s pastor and athletic director told him if he didn’t “denounce being gay” he would lose his job.
“I sat in the room being grilled about how being gay is a ‘danger’ to the school and to the kids,” Tonga explained in a social media post. “That with me ‘identifying as a gay man, they can’t put the kids at risk by having me in front of them’… They even went as far as telling me ‘parents pay too much money to have their kids be coached and taught by someone like you who identifies as a gay man.’”
Tonga, who is a Christian, explained that the administrators of the school allegedly offered to write an email for him saying that he was “away for personal matters” and when he finally decided to make his decision to accept God and the school’s help, he could come back.
Tonga said that the offer was made to ultimately protect him and the school’s kids. He added that they “weren’t trying to convert me into being a straight man” but then they eventually pressured to convert him.
“I want you to cut off that part of who you think you are,” Tonga wrote. “Go home and delete any posts on social media that speak about being gay. We want you to realize that you aren’t gay. You need to become a child of God.
“No more goals of getting married to the love of my life who is a man.”
The school said in a statement that it became aware of Tonga being gay through a Facebook post, according to Denver 7. The school stated that his post “didn’t align with the school’s values.”
“Last week Valor became aware of a Facebook posting by Coach Inoke that suggested he may not support Valor’s beliefs pertaining to sexuality and marriage,” a spokesperson for the school said in a statement. “Valor’s campus pastor and athletic director initiated a conversation with Coach Inoke to explore this matter further. Following this discussion, Coach Inoke provided a statement to Valor in which he concluded that he does not support Valor’s beliefs and he requested a separation from Valor.”
Tonga served as the head coach of the boys junior varsity volleyball team, as well as an assistant for the varsity team. Before this incident occurred, he was asked to be the assistant for the girls volleyball team.