LISLE, Ill. – A suburban Catholic high school’s decision to rescind the job offer of a gay lacrosse coach has drawn criticism from alumni, students and parents.
Colleen Savell learned two weeks ago that Benet Academy planed to hire Amanda Kammes as head coach of the women’s lacrosse program. Kammes, an alum of Benet Academy, had recently left her position as a lacrosse coach at Montini Catholic High School in Lombard.
“She’s very well known in the lacrosse community for running one of the most successful lacrosse club programs in the Chicagoland area,” Savell said.
But the current women’s varsity lacrosse coach said that when Kammes was completing paperwork and wrote her wife down as her emergency contact, Benet administrators rescinded her job offer last Friday.
“I was horrified, not only for Amanda. She is fully qualified for this job but also for the people and girls I coach and the community at Benet as well,” Savell said.
A petition with more than 3,000 signatures of alumni, students, and parents pushes for Benet Academy to reinstate the lacrosse coach.
In a statement to staff and parents, school spokesperson James Moss said: “Benet Academy respects the dignity of all human beings to follow their conscience and to live lives of their choosing. Likewise, as a Catholic school, we employ individuals whose lives manifest the essential teachings of the church in order to provide the education and faith formation of the young people entrusted to our care.”
Monday morning, a group of Benet alumni, students, and parents protested outside the school in defense of Kammes. Among the group was Benet Academy LGBTQ alum Tim Jacklich.
“We needed to act because we care about this institution and these are not the values we want to see it uphold,” Jacklich said.
Jacklich, who came out his senior year at Benet, said his late grandmother Sheila worked at the academy for 30 years as a French teacher and assistant dean.
“A number of Benet administrators have a phrase they use to guide them, where they ask ‘what would Sheila do,?’ Jacklich said. “And we have an answer for them. She would not do this.”