Benet Academy Reverses Decision and Hires Gay Coach

Benet Students Protesting

Neighboring Benet Academy initially withheld a head coaching position due to the coach’s sexual orientation. Yesterday, the decision was reversed, and position was offered. (Photo credit: Drew Rogers)

Kaitlyn Estopare

News Editor

Benet Academy is currently facing backlash from the recent incident regarding a new hire of a gay coach. The school is located across Maple Ave from BenU and also shares a history with Benedictine monks.

Amanda Kammes, a Benet Alum, was hired for the position of Head Girl’s Lacrosse. As the paperwork was turned in, her offer initially retracted due to Kammes putting her wife’s name down as an emergency contact.

In an email sent to Benet students on September 19th, 2021, Stephen Marth, Head of School, explained the administration’s reasoning and hopes for unity within the community about the initial decision.

On Sept. 21, 2021, supporters of Kammes presented Benet with a petition with signatures from 4,000 people to the high school’s decision to withdraw its job offer to the coach.

Yesterday, after the petition and a discussion with the administration, Kammes job offer resurfaced. She accepted the position and is excited to get started.

“This community is full of highly intelligent, driven, socially aware and passionate people who will always stand up for what is right,” Kammes said. “I am encouraged, ready to move forward, and coach Benet’s girls’ lacrosse team to success on and off the field. Go Redwings!”

The administration’s original decision was based on the policies of the Academy, Abbey, Diocese, and the teachings of the Catholic Church.

Also in the email, Marth explains the destruction that might happen if students were to wear rainbow colors as a part of their spirit day for Homecoming Week. Justifying this statement, he goes into detail about how the colors of the rainbow have different meanings to different age groups such as, for a child it represents the “wonderful kaleidoscope of colors seen everywhere in nature.”

Instead of wearing rainbow colors, the Academy is urging all students to wear a cross or crucifix “as a visual sign of what unifies” them as a Catholic school and community.

A rally was held at 7 am on Monday in front of the school, where a natural rainbow appeared. 

“I was honestly taken aback. As an openly gay man, I stand with the female coach that Benet fired. I feel as though to bluntly operate like that is very telling what Benet stands for. This behavior is a really bad example for the students who may have homophobic tendencies as is. Benet should’ve made clear who they want or don’t want to work for them in terms of an individuals background. Given the history between the two institutions, I believe Benedictine should speak out about this situation. Besides the history, I feel it’s only befitting that BenU says something given the traditions and faith is the base of our community,” said Cam Hope, a Benedictine University student.

“I heard about the incident from my close friend who plays on the girls lacrosse team.” said Drew Rogers, Senior Student at Benet Academy.  “She came up to me crying during class. I was utterly disgusted of the news. LGBTQ+ rights is something near and dear to my heart.”

“That day after school everything blew up. The girls lax team shared Amanda’s story and I knew that it was my job that this story gets further out.” Rogers continued. “The lacrosse girls and I, along with countless Benet students decided that wearing rainbow and sharing social media posts would be the best easy to have out voices be heard,”

The students arrived Monday decked out in rainbow showing support for the LGBTQ+ community. They wore masks, shirts, and bracelets. They also stood outside Benet and gave out free pride merchandise to anyone wanting to support. While they are wearing all this, a rainbow from the sky appeared.

“I was beyond proud of my fellow classmates, parents, alumni, complete strangers to taking a stand to the blatant homophobia. Once I heard that Amanda is now going to be the lax coach this year I was so excited, I was so proud that we made a big enough voice to make a change. This is a testament to never step down and to stand up for what is right. There is a lot of work Benet needs to do to be a more inclusive environment. I cannot wait to attend the girl’s lacrosse games this spring and watch Amanda do a fantastic job at leading some of my closest friends. Love is love.” said Rogers.