Benet Academy students, alumni protest after school allegedly rescinds job offer to gay coach

An online petition, signed by more than 3,400 people, calls for the reinstatement of lacrosse coach Amanda Kammes.

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Benet Academy in Lisle

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Students and alumni of a west suburban Catholic school are calling on the administration to reinstate a girls’ lacrosse coach whose job offer was allegedly rescinded after officials learned she was married to another woman.

A veteran Lacrosse coach, Amanda Kammes, was offered the head coaching position at Benet Academy in Lisle about two weeks ago, according to assistant coach Colleen Savell, who spoke to Kammes about the situation.

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. 

“She is a highly qualified person for this job,” Savell said. 

After receiving an offer, Kammes completed a background check and all necessary citations for the position, said Savell. But after Kammes listed her wife as an emergency contact on a school form, the offer was allegedly rescinded, Savell said.

School officials did not respond to a request to comment Monday. Kammes also could not be reached.

After a social post from Savell about the situation began to circulate, the school administration issued an email statement to Benet families. 

“Benet academy respects the dignity of all human beings to follow their conscience and to live lives of their choosing,” Jamie Moss, a Benet spokeswoman, said in the email. “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.”

Students and parents protested outside the school Monday, handing out rainbow masks to fellow classmates.

In anticipation of the action, Head of School Stephen Marth issued a statement Sunday that acknowledged the response on social media to “a recent decision that was made based on the policies of the Academy, Abbey and Diocese, as well as the teachings of the Catholic Church.”

In his statement, Marth noted that wearing rainbow colors “can be confusing and ambiguous.” Children find them to be a “wonderful kaleidoscope of colors.” But for others, he wrote, rainbow colors have come to “represent an affirmation of a particular lifestyle or life choices, that the Church, in her wisdom, does not and cannot condone.”

Students and alumni have created an online petition calling for Kammes’ reinstatement and for Benet to implement new, more inclusive policies. As of Monday night, the petition had attracted more than 3,400 online signatures. 

“By rejecting a talented potential staff member on the basis of whom she loves, you have utterly failed to uphold the principles of dignity and charity that you purport to practice as Christian institution,” the petition said. “We are ashamed of your narrow interpretation of Christian morality.”

Savell believes the school’s treatment of Kammes reflects larger issues at Benet.

“I care about these girls and the students that go to Benet and I want to make sure that they have a positive high school experience,” Savell said. “High school is such a moldable time in your life and it’s such a fragile time in your life and I want these girls and anybody at Benet to feel supportive.”

A Board of Directors meeting was set to take place Monday night. The school said in a statement to Shaw Media that it would make a comment on Tuesday.

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