Inoke Tonga, the volleyball coach at Valor Christian in Colorado, says he was asked to denounce being gay or quit his job, which sparked protests outside of the school.
Right now, schools should be focusing all of their attention on keeping kids safe from COVID-19. Even with the pandemic raging on like never before, kids have returned to school instead of continuing online learning. Some schools have seen thousands of cases in just one week of going back, and yet, there’s been no change in protocol.
In Colorado, a Christian school is under fire for allegedly worrying about one coach’s sexuality instead of the actual problems at hand. Inoke Tonga claims Valor Christian asked him to denounce being gay or quit his job. According to CNN, this has sparked outrage and protests from kids demanding their coach back.
Inoke Tonga said in a Facebook post that administrators asked him if he posted about being gay on social media and then told him “they can’t put the kids at risk by having me in front of them.” Speaking with CNN on Tuesday afternoon, Tonga said he’s felt “every emotion on the spectrum,” but that the biggest one he feels is love after he posted about the ordeal.
He told CNN he started at the school last year, coaching the boys’ volleyball team and was approached to coach the girls’ team this season.
“The culture document of Valor Christian that was given to me during the interview process didn’t mention anything about their stance on LGBTQ+,” Tonga said in the post.
Tonga told CNN, and said in the original post, that in the course of the 90-minute meeting last Thursday, he was told the students’ “parents pay too much money to have their kids be coached and taught by someone like you who identifies as a gay man.”
Ultimately, Tonga says, he was given the option to “denounce being gay,” which he refused to do and was told that would lead to him being released from the school as a coach, he wrote on Facebook. He said while he’s not sure of his full status at the school, he said he was told he cannot come back without denouncing being gay.
As far as the school, they have ignored everyone’s request for comment and while that doesn’t make them guilty, if they didn’t say such a thing, they would definitely deny it. Shortly after this news broke, a second coach came forward to say the school fired her for the same exact thing. Absolutely wild.
Kids from the school are upset and protesting outside of the school, demanding the coach back. You can view powerful pictures from the protest below along with statements from Tonga himself.