GLOUCESTER, Mass. – School counselors, teachers and families of students the principal said made a pact to get pregnant and have babies together have no information to back the claim, the mayor of Gloucester said Sunday.
Mayor Carolyn Kirk plans to meet Monday with school, health and other local officials after Gloucester High School Principal Joseph Sullivan was quoted by Time magazine saying the girls made such a pact.
The meeting will discuss the alarming rate of teen pregnancy. Seventeen girls in the high school became pregnant this year — four times the usual number. The girls are all 16 or younger, and nearly all of them sophomores.
Kirk told The Associated Press that Sullivan has told officials in this hard-luck New England fishing town that he can't remember his source of information.
"The high school principal is the one who initially said it, and no one else has said it," Kirk said. "None of the counselors at the school, none of the teachers who know these children and none of the families have spoken about it.
"So, my position is that it has not been confirmed," she said.
The Associated Press could not immediately locate a home phone number for Sullivan. A message was left Sunday at the principal's office.
City and school officials in this city of about 30,000 about 30 miles (48 kilometers) north of Boston have been struggling for months to explain and deal with the pregnancies, where on average only four girls a year at the 1,200-student high school become pregnant.
Just last month, two officials at the high school health center resigned to protest the local hospital's refusal to support a proposal to distribute contraceptives to youngsters at the school without parental consent.
The heavily Roman Catholic town, which has a large Italian and Portuguese population, has long been supportive of teen mothers. The high school has a day care center for students and employees.