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Officials to discuss pregnant teenagers

Gloucester mayor says there is no evidence of a pact

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Associated Press / June 23, 2008

GLOUCESTER - School counselors, teachers, and the families of pregnant students have no information to support a principal's allegation that the girls made a pact to get pregnant, the mayor of Gloucester said yesterday.

Mayor Carolyn Kirk plans to meet today with school, health, and other officials after Joseph Sullivan, principal of Gloucester High School, was quoted by Time magazine saying girls made pregnancy pacts.

The meeting will discuss alarming rates of teen pregnancy.

Seventeen girls in the high school, four times the school's average number, became pregnant this year. The girls are all 16 or younger, nearly all of them sophomores.

Kirk said Sullivan has told officials in this New England fishing town he can't remember his source of the 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," she said.

"So, my position is that it has not been confirmed," Kirk said.

The Associated Press could not immediately locate a phone number to get Sullivan's reaction. A message was left yesterday at the principal's office.

City and school officials have been struggling for months to explain and deal with the pregnancies, where on average four girls a year at the 1,200-student high school become pregnant.

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 teens at the school without parental consent. The hospital controls the clinic's funding.

The heavily Roman Catholic town, with 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.

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