HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo. — Several students of Valor Christian High School in Highlands Ranch walked out of class Tuesday in support of a former volleyball coach who said he was forced to resign because he is gay.
Students from the private Christian school organized the walkout to “show support for all LGBT+ students and show the administration that discrimination and bigotry will not be tolerated,” an online post announcing the walkout read.
Inoke Tonga was the school’s head coach for the boys JV volleyball team. He told Denver7 that he was forced to resign from the school last week after school officials learned of a Facebook post made by Tonga where he discussed his life as a gay Christian man.
"They told me, 'We'll give you a day, we'll give you a week, however long it takes for you to accept our help to be healed and come to become a child of God and denounce being gay,'" Tonga told Denver7 Tuesday. "If not, I would have to be released as a coach."
School officials said Tonga’s post went against “Valor’s beliefs pertaining to sexuality and marriage," a spokesperson for the school said in a statement.
Valor said they reached out to Tonga to discuss the post, but the volleyball coach made the decision to resign. Tonga said he was given few options.
"They said I had two options," Tonga explained. "The first option was to denounce that I was gay."
The second option, he said, was to resign.
The statement from the school says "Coach Inoke has misrepresented many aspects of this matter," but the spokesperson for the school declined to explain how.
It’s unclear if any students involved in Tuesday’s walkout will face disciplinary action.