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 a high school in Massachusetts, school officials said.
Gloucester High School 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 that has left 17 girls at the school carrying a child. Normally, there are about four pregnancies a year at the school.
Sullivan told Time that nearly half of the expecting students, none over 16, were involved. He 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.
Superintendent Christopher Farmer confirmed the deal to WBZ-TV, saying the girls had "an agreement to get pregnant."
He said the girls are generally "girls who lack self-esteem and have a lack of love in their life."
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.
The rash of pregnancies has shaken the seaside city about 30 miles (48 kilometers) north of Boston. Last month, two officials at the high school health center resigned to protest the resistance from the local hospital to the confidential distribution of contraceptives. The hospital administers the state money that funds the clinic.