Catholic school reverses course, decides to hire lacrosse coach who's married to a woman after all
LISLE, Illinois - A suburban Chicago Catholic school has reversed course and will be hiring a female lacrosse coach who is married to another woman after all.
Students at Benet Academy in Lisle protested on Monday after learning that Amanda Kammes was out of a job after listing her wife as an emergency contact on her school employment forms.
Students and alumni said that Kammes was well-qualified and they felt like the school was sending the wrong message to LGBTQ students.
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On Tuesday afternoon, the school board released a statement saying it took a deeper look at the situation and that Kammes has the experience and background for the position.
"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."
Kammes released a statement soon after, showing excitement for what's ahead.
"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!"
Students and alumni had created an online petition calling for Kammes’ reinstatement and for Benet to implement new, more inclusive policies. The petition had more than 3,400 online signatures Monday night.
Colleen Savell, the lacrosse team’s assistant coach and a supporter of Kammes, said she was waiting for more details on the decision but added that she was "beyond excited" at the news.
Kammes previously coached lacrosse in Pennsylvania, leading a team to two state titles, and most recently coached at Montini Catholic High School in Lombard while also running the Lakeshore Lacrosse program in the Chicago area.
Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.