A private Catholic high school in suburban Chicago has reversed a decision to rescind a job offer to a girls’ lacrosse coach because she’s married to a woman.
Benet Academy’s school board met Monday and reversed course on its decision last week to rescind the employment offer to Amanda Kammes, saying her “background and experience” made her the right candidate for the job, the Chicago Tribune reported.
“We had an honest and heartfelt discussion on this very complex issue at our meeting,” the school in Lisle said in a statement Tuesday. “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.”
The reversal came after students and alumni rallied Monday outside at the DuPage County school in support of Kammes, whose job offer was quashed after she listed her wife as her emergency contact, the Tribune reported.
A petition signed by more than 4,100 people — including alumni and current students — blasted the school’s move for initially denying Kammes a job due to her same-sex marriage.
“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 read. “We are ashamed of your narrow interpretation of Christian morality.”
Kammes’ supporters said “countless” school alumni, like herself, identify as part of the LGBT+ community.
“We further condemn your implication that an LGBT+ individual is any less qualified to educate and support young people,” the petition continued. “By all accounts, the candidate that you rejected was eminently qualified, and your shortsighted decision has deprived Benet students of her valuable experience.”
Kammes, in a statement Tuesday to the Tribune, said she was excited to get started in her role some 20 years after she last walked the hallways of the school.
“And yet, never in my life have I been prouder to be a Redwing,” Kammes said. “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.”
Kammes has previously coached lacrosse at several high schools and colleges. She won two state titles as the defensive coordinator at a Pennsylvania high school, the Tribune reported, citing an online bio.
Benet Academy initially justified its decision last week to rescind Kammes’ job offer while referring to its mission as a Catholic institution.
“Benet Academy respects the dignity of all human beings to follow their conscience and to live lives of their choosing,” spokeswoman Jamie Moss told the Tribune. “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.”
Kammes, meanwhile, also thanked the “passionate people” who took her back.
“I am encouraged, ready to move forward, and coach Benet’s girls’ lacrosse team to success on and off the field,” her statement continued. “GO REDWINGS!”