Benet Academy hires lacrosse coach after deferring job offer over her same-sex marriage

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LISLE, Ill. (WLS) — A Lisle Catholic school announced Tuesday that it has hired a new coach whose employment decision had been deferred after officials learned she was in a same-sex marriage.

After a public outcry, the board of directors for Benet Academy reversed course and offered the head coaching job of the girls’ lacrosse team to Amanda Kammes, who accepted the offer.

"It’s definitely not over," said Colleen Savell, assistant girls’ lacrosse coach at Benet. "We definitely got what we wanted with Amanda being reinstated, but there is still more to be done and more change that needs to happen."

The board came under fire after at first rescinding the job offer upon learning Kammes is in a same-sex marriage. On Tuesday, the board said that Kammes’ background and experience made her the right candidate for the position.

"I think had they not, to be totally frank, this would have escalated to a really high degree," Benet alum KP Mendoza said. "So I think it was a very smart decision for them."

KP Mendoza was a student at Benet, graduating 7 years ago. He said he hopes that LGBTQ students at Benet will be more empowered with Kammes as part of the faculty.

"I didn’t really feel safe coming out of the closet or safe exploring what sexuality meant to me, especially in a religious setting like Benet, so I didn’t feel like I had a safe space to do that," he explained.

Kammes is an alumnae of the Lisle Catholic high school and other alumni on staff rallied for her to be reinstated.

The Benet Academy Board of Directors said in a written statement:

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 said in a written statement:

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!

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via ABC7 Chicago

September 21, 2021 at 08:49PM

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