« on: June 21, 2008, 04:42:31 PM »
GLOUCESTER, Mass. -- A pact made by a group of teens to get pregnant and raise their babies together is at least partly behind a sudden spike in pregnancies at Gloucester High School, school officials said.
Principal Joseph Sullivan told Time magazine in a story published Wednesday that the girls confessed to making the pact after the school began investigating a rise in pregnancies. At least 17 girls at the school are pregnant. Normally, there are about four pregnancies a year at the school.
Sullivan told Time that nearly half of the expecting students, none older than age 16, were involved. Sullivan said students were coming to the school clinic multiple times to get pregnancy tests, and "seemed more upset when they weren't pregnant than when they were."
Some of the girls reacted to the news they were pregnant with high fives and plans for baby showers, Sullivan said. One of the fathers "is a 24-year-old homeless guy," Sullivan told the magazine.
Christen Callahan, a former Gloucester High School student who had a child when she was 15, said on NBC's "Today" show that some of the girls would ask her about her own pregnancy.
But she said she had no firsthand knowledge of a pact among the girls to get pregnant. "They were just kind of like curious about it, they never actually came out and said it," Callahan said.
The first reports of the students' apparent plan to get pregnant were in the Gloucester Daily Times in March, when Sullivan said students were reporting that the girls were getting pregnant on purpose.
Last month, two officials at the high school health center resigned to protest resistance from the local hospital to the confidential distribution of contraceptives. The hospital administers state money that funds the clinic.