Inoke Tonga, a former coach at Valor Christian Excessive College, says his launch was efficient due to his sexual orientation – CBS Denver

HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colorado (CBS4) – Students and parents discuss the departure of Girls JV volleyball coach Inoke Tonga, which Tonga said was a dropout from school for his sexual orientation and support for LGBTQ + people.

“My name is Inoke Tonga. I’m an American-Tongan gay man, ”the post begins. Tonga, who trained in his freshman year at Valor boys JV volleyball last year, switched to girls JV this year. The college boys’ coach left. When invited to a meeting with a school pastor and sports director, he thought it might mean a job as head coach for the boys.

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“I made myself believe I was going in there to meet her, to be ready to take on the boys program, but it was the opposite.”

Alan Gionet of CBS4 interviews Inoke Tonga. (Credit: CBS)

“In connection with his employment, Coach Inoke signed a statement confirming his compliance with Valor’s beliefs and community standards. Last week, Valor became aware of a Facebook post from Coach Inoke that suggested he may not support Valor’s beliefs about sexuality and marriage. The campus pastor and sports director of Valor has opened a conversation with Coach Inoke to investigate this matter further, ”Valor said in a statement. Tonga says he was asked if he posted inappropriate things.

“I kept saying no to posting something inappropriate because at first I am not. And to be honest, I don’t see anything inappropriate that I’ve posted. “

Tonga has been training volleyball for 8 years. He recently started training club volleyball for the 303 Volleyball Academy. Some of the players there were Valor players and he met some of the parents. The fact that he’s gay wouldn’t be a problem as some parents encouraged him to apply to Valor.

“I honestly thought it would never be a problem because some of the parents knew about the club.”

The school claims in its statement that Tonga’s post could be an indication that he disagrees with the school’s beliefs.

Valor Christian High School

(Credit: CBS)

“Valor requires its staff, faculty, and volunteer leaders – those who represent the Valor community and guide the spiritual development of our students – to agree and be in agreement with Valor’s Christian beliefs as set out in our Declaration of Faith and other policies to live with these convictions ”, it says in the Valor declaration.

But Tonga says it didn’t come.

“I was never asked and never spoken to and never addressed that my sexual orientation would be an issue … For me, the God I believe in welcomes you gay, straight, Black Asian and loves you.”

Among the girls Tonga trained was Scott Newman’s daughter. He received an email from the school vaguely informing him of the situation.

“I thought to myself, ‘Man, there must be something more to it and you know’… Here we are on Monday and we’re just trying to look through it. None of that made sense to us. “

His daughter liked the new coach.

“She really liked him and it was the first time she really enjoyed the high school coach and was super excited to play for him.”

Newman noted that he may not have looked closely enough at some of Valor’s statements on the subject before sending his daughter to school there.

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“I’m a devout Christian and the church I go to doesn’t say you can’t go to this church if you’re gay,” he said.

“Valor can have any belief they want – and in the end they are a great school – I’m just confused about how that was handled. Because it seemed to contradict what Valor stood for. “

His daughter, he says, can see that this is a learning experience. She refuses to move the school. That’s how he does it.

“Christianity decides you shouldn’t have gotten a divorce. But does that mean that everyone in Valor should never get divorced, and if so, should they be fired? So at what point are all sins created equal? ​​”

Inoke Tonga

(Credit: CBS)

Coach Inoke is still going through the discussion he had in mind with the school.

“If you asked me now if I wanted to go, I would say no. But even if you ask me and keep asking how you did it to denounce being a gay man, I would say no too. “

How his separation from school went seems controversial.

“I feel like I’m being kicked out. It was basically to do this and either keep your job or not. And I said I can’t and left it to them. “

Valor’s statement reads: “Coach Inoke has given Valor a statement concluding that he does not support Valor’s beliefs and he has requested a separation from Valor. Based on this conclusion, Valor agrees that separation is appropriate. “

“It hurts that the school publicly said I left. Because that contradicts everything I have said to my children, and it contradicts everything I promised them, ”said Tonga.

“While Coach Inoke misrepresented many aspects of this matter, Valor appreciates the contributions he has made for the student athletes in our volleyball program and we wish him well in his future endeavors,” the statement said.

CBS4 asked the school to clarify its claim that Tonga misrepresented the matter, but the school declined to comment.

Tonga will continue to train volleyball with the club. And now he stands on principle.

“I have to expect myself to empathize with something uncomfortable. As the Bible teaches, I am ready to be crucified for what I stand for and what I know to be true. For the love I have for these children and for the community. “

303 Volleyball Academy’s executive director Erik Rhee also made a statement saying she will continue to support coach Inoke. It said in part:

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“Our coaches are a colorful representation of the youth we love so much. Inoke Tonga, thank you for so boldly reminding us all that our differences should be celebrated, not hidden. And every young person who comes through our doors … please know that … you are as welcome here as you are. “

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