Suburban Catholic school changes course, hires gay coach after backlash

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LISLE, Ill. – A suburban Catholic high school has reversed its decision to rescind its job offer to a gay lacrosse coach after the move drew heavy criticism from alumni, students and parents.

On Tuesday, the school announced that administrators had extended an offer to Amanda Kammes, who the Catholic school had planned to hire as head coach of the women’s lacrosse program. Benet administrators said Kammes accepted the job offer.

The school allegedly rescinded Kammes’ job offer after she wrote her wife down as her emergency contact.

The news comes one day after protesters stood outside of Benet Academy in defense of Kammes.

“We needed to act because we care about this institution and these are not the values we want to see it uphold,” said Benet Academy LGBTQ alum Tim Jacklich.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Group protests in defense of gay coach after suburban Catholic school job offer rescinded

A statement from the Board of Directors of Benet Academy read:

The Board of Directors of Benet Academy today announced that the Academy has extended an offer to Amanda Kammes to be the school’s next girls lacrosse head coach and she has accepted the offer. The Board met on Monday evening. 

Benet Academy is a Catholic high school in Lisle, Illinois. The Catholic school had previously deferred its employment discussions with Ms. Kammes upon learning that she is in a same-sex marriage. The school’s Board determined that Ms. Kammes’ background and experience made her the right candidate for the position.

“The Board has heard from members of the Benet community on all sides of this issue over the past several days. We had an honest and heartfelt discussion on this very complex issue at our meeting. Going forward we will look for opportunities for dialogue in our community about how we remain true to our Catholic mission while meeting people where they are in their personal journey through life.  For now, we hope that this is the first step in healing the Benet community.”

Statement from the Board of Directors of Benet Academy

Assistant lacrosse coach Colleen Savell told WGN News she couldn’t be happier about course reversal by the school’s higher-ups.

“Completely overjoyed,” Savell said. “It’s what is right for the girls. It’s what we wanted and I could not be more excited.”

Tuesday evening, Kammes’ released a statement thanking supporters and Benet administrators for their about-face:

“It’s been 20 years since I walked the hallways of Benet Academy, and yet, never in my life have I been prouder to be a Redwing. The past week provided a chance for Benet to rally together in the name of community, sportsmanship, and social change, and I’m beyond grateful that Benet reconsidered their decision. 

“Throughout the past few days, my hope is that the LGBTQ+ community at Benet and other Catholic institutions, felt supported, loved, and know that they are not alone. You are part of a community – as students, athletes, and friends – and I am your ally and will continue to be one. 

“To my classmates, fellow Benet alumni, current students, parents, and most importantly, the girls lacrosse team – I am truly humbled at the outpouring of support. This community is full of highly intelligent, driven, socially aware and passionate people who will always stand up for what is right. I am encouraged, ready to move forward, and coach Benet’s girls’ lacrosse team to success on and off the field. GO REDWINGS!”

Full statement from Amanda Kammes

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