June 23rd, 2008
07:35 PM ET

Pact or no pact?

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/06/23/art.mayor.gloucester.jpg caption="Mayor Carolyn Kirk speaks to the media following a meeting concerning the pregnancy pact, Monday."]
Editor's note: see Randi’s full report tonight on AC360° 10p ET.

Randi Kaye BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Was there or wasn’t there a pregnancy pact among a group of girls at Gloucester High School?

Today, school officials and the mayor of the seaside village about an north of Massachusetts are questioning reports that a pact ever existed.

This whole controversy may’ve started when the school’s principal told TIME Magazine about the pact. Since then, the principal hasn’t spoken publicly or returned our calls. TIME’s reporter stands by her report.

Today, Mayor Carolyn Kirk told reporters, “the simple answer is there has been no independent verification beyond what the principal stated that there was a pact…he was foggy in his memory of how he heard about the information. When we pressed him for specifics on who told him, when he was told, his memory failed."

It’s all very strange, considering last week, a Gloucester man told us he knew all about the pact. He said the girls in the pact had pressured his stepdaughter to get pregnant too, but she didn’t. And the district’s superintendent, Christopher Farmer, told me the girls were “high-fiving” after they found out they were expecting. In all, 17 girls got pregnant. Most are sophomores and according to Superintendent Farmer, some as young as 15.

One, he believes, was impregnated by a 24-year-old homeless man just so she could be part of the group.

Today, Mayor Kirk pointed fingers at parents, saying they are ultimately responsible for their childrens’ well-being and good health. She also blamed an underfunded “No Child Left Behind” program and budget cuts that she said make it impossible to afford to teach sex education beyond freshman year.

Meanwhile, the school may also reconsider whether to dispense contraceptives at school. It’s against district policy right now but it is back up for discussion in light of what’s happened this year.

What do you think...Is this PR spin? Pact or no Pact?

Filed under: 360° Radar • Randi Kaye
soundoff (75 Responses)
  1. Alex

    Its obvious the News Media is hard-up for things to report about. This entire issue is a private and local matter that is hardly worthy of such attention. Get a life you guys!

    June 24, 2008 at 8:46 am |
  2. Andrea

    Wow! I watched Anderson's peice this morning on these girls , and not ONE time were the boys mentioned! It's not just the girls and their families who are to blame...it took two to tangle folks! Where are the boys and are they feeling the heat? They, too, must be held accountable. It is the lives of the girls that will be most affected. The boys can go on with their education, secure decent jobs and marry and have a family. Even these posts...most all are addressing the stupidity of the girls, even blaming their family, not even mentioning the boys. We must address both sexes if we expect changes!

    June 24, 2008 at 6:23 am |
  3. Lou Doss

    I am a high school teacher. I teach and talk to these pregnant teens, both mom's and dad's. "Where's the males?" I ask the girls. They could care less about the "daddies." The teens have quickly learned how not to fail, by learned how to control the government. The majority of my students response when asked how they plan to support this child is an immediate, "I'm on WIX." They know they will get a government check leading to repeat offenders. I don't question that we need to distribute in the public schools. These kids don't have a pact. They just have high hormone levels and like having sex. Teaching them how to prevent pregancy is a must! The mayor has it right when she said "No Child Left Behind" has teachers and schools so accountable that we don't have time for sex education. Get rid of the "Left Behind" and teach "No Child."

    June 24, 2008 at 6:19 am |
  4. SCM

    Perhaps if Hollywood stopped glamourizing teen births – as in Jamie Lynn Spears – then our children would not seek to emulate such behavior.

    June 24, 2008 at 6:16 am |
  5. Julie San Diego, CA

    One of my friends from Europe WAS right...America is still a Puritanical society at heart...obsessed with sex but too prudish to admit it.

    Why else would this story be more than a mere blip on the radar?

    There's so many significant eventshappening right now – 85,000+ dead in Myanmar from the cyclone, turmoil in the Niger Delta affecting world oil prices which are threatening to creep over $5/gallon here in California and actually forcing people to relocate versus a costly commute, the Taliban profiting to the tune of $100 million dollars in 2007 from the opium trade in Afghanistan – that's more than enough money to purchase weapons that can be used against us.

    There's even a little irony in the news. China, a largely atheist nation, is now the biggest Bible manufacturing nation on the planet.

    I am mildly taken aback by all the references to "Juno" – those who saw the movie know that it didn't glamorize teen pregnancy, and had a poignant twist where the pregnant teen did something very mature....I won't spoil the ending; it's a great movie. Check it out.

    June 24, 2008 at 3:09 am |
  6. Jeremy H

    dear Anderson and AC 360 Staff

    i love u guys so much

    but this news are so not worth to report, just bunch of high

    school girls make a wrong decision in their life

    please don't make AC 360 sounds cheasy

    June 24, 2008 at 2:50 am |
  7. judy genone

    Regarding sex ed. I've been working with high school students since 1980 as a teacher. I have found that many boys openly, verbally, proudly relish and brag about the sexual experience and girls often feel proud to be a "turn on" to boys. Just one example: A middle school in our district (that's 7th and 8th graders) had a "BJ" club. (i.e. a "club" of girls were found "servicing" the boys in the bathroom during lunch). Some girls also feel pressured to have sex – and if they don't, they know their boyfriend can get it elsewhere. So having a good sex ed program is imperative – a place where it is safe to ask questions and obtain help – including protection. To quote the principal/priest at my old "Catholic" high school: "I hear the confessions of these kids, and I can tell you that 75% of them are having sex." Anderson, when I heard your guest state that abstinence should be taught, my immediate reaction is that he would be laughed out of town and most boys would consider that idea a major joke. (I've been there, done that). Students that I've seen profess abstinence obtain that value from home, and from their religion – not from their teachers, and certainly not from music, the entertainment media or visual ads! The value of abstinence must start at home with school as a secondary support. But so many kids don't have parents as a primary force – that teachers are left to pick up the pieces and do what we can.

    June 24, 2008 at 2:46 am |
  8. Alea

    School is for educating our children. We, as parents, are responsible to teach and pass on good morals, ethics, standards and resources to make the right decisions in life. Beyond that, it's up to them. Since when do teenagers always do what they are taught? I know I didn't always abide by the rules. You can't make not having sex a rule. Tony Perkins, (I think that was his name) is living in some kind of fantasy world to think that you can teach no sex before marriage and ignore all the rest. Maybe a teenager that made a mistake in life would never finish school if they didn't have a daycare to bring their child to. If they didn't have access to condoms or birth control, how many more would be pregnant or passing along STD's?

    June 24, 2008 at 2:33 am |
  9. Dee

    Tony Perkins is an idiot. He says the young women should remain chaste until marriage. These girls did not get pregnant by themselves. Why hasn't anyone mentioned the males involved? Young women have sexual urges just like young men so the responsible thing to do is teach them how their bodies work, why they have these urges and how to keep safe and healthy. Stop denying that young people have sexual urges and teach them the facts. When are these religious "NUTS" going to deal with reality? Daycare in school is a GOOD idea. The girls can finish their educations and support their children instead of going on welfare and they should let the students (Boys as well as Girls) take a class in babysitting and help out in the daycare program. A few hours of screaming babies with diapers to change may cut down on the big rush to be a parent.

    June 24, 2008 at 2:33 am |
  10. queen

    Teenage pregnancy has been an issue for a long time in other communities. But now in Gloucester, MA all of a sudden it's a serious matter that drawn national attention and must be addressed. What's the big deal now??

    The truth is sex ed nor abstinence will not stop teenager's sexual addiction as long as there are family dysfunctions and psychological issues in a society addicted to immorality, perversion and sadistic behaviors

    June 24, 2008 at 2:26 am |
  11. Willis S

    Parents failed , school officials failed , and the system itself failed . Teenagers need help in navigating , processing , and understanding this thing called life , instead they get a fool party ( pool party ). As a parent we should always investigate , regulate , and implicate the necessary guidelines and disclipine that is needed to help our children become better people and instill in them that the most important goal in life is to get to Heaven . Besides the Mayor or any other elected official is not the parent(s) of these teenagers . We have to protect our children not just from predators but from themselves .

    June 24, 2008 at 2:10 am |
  12. Ashley

    About the day care...it was probably created because so many students were pregnant and unable to attend classes. Having a day care at the school allows the teens to continue their education.
    If we taught teens how to protect themselves from the risks involved with sexual activity (i.e. contraception), we wouldn't have a day care at so many high schools in the US.

    June 24, 2008 at 2:09 am |
  13. Ashley

    The fact is that teens all over the US are having sex and no matter the amount of sex education or the upbringing they've had, they are still participating in lots of sexual activity!
    If we want to help teens make positive decisions we should inform them of what they can do to help themselves and each other...proper education and access to contraception!
    I'm writing a paper on this topic for a college class and I've done the research.
    If you support abstinence-only education, you're supporting ignorance and the 1950's "everything's ok, if we ignore it" attitude. Well it's the year 2008!
    Think about the number of unwanted teen pregnancy and STD's we could prevent if teens were using proper contraception.
    Look at the evidence...comprehensive sex-ed makes sense AND it works!

    June 24, 2008 at 2:05 am |
  14. Dawn Richardson

    I applaud the school for the day care center. I am truly amazed to see people who are upset about the center. I bet many of these same people are against abortion. So what are we saying, don't do it, but if you do make a mistake, we are going to make life even harder for you when you try and rectify the situation by finishing school and making a life for you and your child...
    What baffles me also is no one is talking about the young men in this situation. Why in 2008, are we still treating this as if the young women are the only ones to blame here. We need to be educating our young men as well! It takes two! Educate and hold both accountable. Parents, get more involved in your children's lives. As an educator I can tell you, your presence is needed and is definitely a deterrent. Use your power. Don't wait until they are teens, start being involve from the moment of conception. Children, especially teens, want you and need you. We in schools can only do so much. Most of us only see your child about 50 minutes a day. You on the other hand, should be seeing them much more than that. Use your time wisely and effectively. In the end, when you see them grown, holding their own, you will be glad that you did....

    June 24, 2008 at 2:04 am |
  15. Jim Harrison

    What is wrong with Tony Perkins? Why doesn' t the "family values" people realize that saying "NO" to your children just doesnt work? And to say that the school is promoting sex with students by having a day care in the school just show you the intelligence of these people. What they are saying is that if a girly gets pregnant we should ruin her life forever, throw her out of school and ensure that she will never get an education to support herself or her child. This sounds as stupid as he thinks children are for getting pregnant. Abstinance only education has been proven to not work, now or ever. Combining sex education and abstinance is a great idea. And to use smoking as an example of "you dont tell them not to smoke and then give them a filter for their cigarette." IDIOT TALK. The "God" they worship gave them the vagina and the penis, and it is our responsibilty to teach them how not or how to use them. In other words they already have that filter for the cigarette. Get real idiots. The funny thing is, the ones that want to force the abstinance only education are the same ones that had sex when they were children. Wake up dummies and smell the folgers.


    June 24, 2008 at 2:04 am |
  16. JEFFYT

    The no sex before marriage mantra is such a farce. I can not go into my local store without bikini clad hotties staring at me. I can not flip channels without seing some sort of bootie shaking. You can not go anywhere it seems without sex being blared at me. I am 40, I can't imagine what it does to a hormone raging teen.

    Saying don't do it just makes it more alluring. Tell your kids not too, but you are an idiot if you don't prepare them. Teach your kids to swim if you live near water......

    June 24, 2008 at 1:58 am |
  17. Judy Hansel

    June 23, 2008

    I guess "choice" is only for women who want to abort their
    Women who want babies-regardless what society thinks-obviously have no support for their choice.
    Finally, the truth about the word "choice" comes out!!!

    June 24, 2008 at 12:39 am |
  18. sandy fisk

    This story is indicative of the lack of morals and values rather than lack of sex education. Deliberate decisions were made with no concern, and maybe no knowledge, of right or wrong. As America continues to move away from its Judeo-Christian foundation in the name of 'freedom', I imagine this story will pale in comparison to what will come. People are aghast at the thought of children doing this, yet when children hunger for absolute truths, they are given a message (and example) of vague ethics, sexual and moral unrestraint, and a self-serving disregard for the future consequences of their own behavior. Of course, we're just talking about the emotional and spiritual well-being of our children which doesn't seem as big a concern right now than how green we are or animal protection.

    June 24, 2008 at 12:24 am |
  19. T Harris

    WOW! to sex-educate or not to sex-educate... that is the question. Why would these girls think that it was cool or great to be a teenage mother? EVIDENTLY they knew enough about sex. I don't think the lack of sex education was or is the problem. I believe there are some self-esteem and self-love issues going on. Usually when a teen is desperate to get pregnant it's because they are looking for someone to love and someone to love them! It's sad and such a careless act that no one knew that these girls were having sex,or that no one cared.

    June 24, 2008 at 12:12 am |
  20. Lucy

    One more comment from me and then I will shut up. When I was a teenager, in my mind, the very worse thing I could have done was to get pregnant. It would have hurt my mother so terribly and her feelings were of the utmost importance to me. My mother told me about teenage boys and what they were after. What ever happened to caring about your parent's feelings and shaming the family?

    June 23, 2008 at 11:55 pm |
  21. lakenya williams

    The girls hath to be getting preganent for a reason, the girls must not feel like their not being loved by their parents so they feel that if they have babies they will have some one to care for them. Im not saying its the parents fult because as soon as their kids leave the house to go to school they have no idea what their kids are getting their self into and the teachers should try harder to help teach the kids about sex not jus freshmens. Its really not no ones fult and no one really should be blamed anybody because every generation is not the same it changes every time blaming people is not going to help, doing something about will, mabe things will get better and mabe they wont. My whole thing is if your going to blame people do something about it instead of running your mouth about it because really dont know adult have any idea how hard it is to be a teenager or how hard it is to fit in because this generation is nothing like theirs. Im not on niether side because the girls should have talked to some about it and the adults shouldnt be blaming other adults.

    June 23, 2008 at 11:50 pm |
  22. Lucy

    "Add to the moral decay of our society"!!, as one blogger wrote, sent me into a head spin. Unmarried, teenage pregnant teens is not a moral decay of society? People who will suck off the government and taxpayers to raise these kids, and short change themselves from becoming strong, fabulous women is ok? What kind of mothers do you think they will be or should I say, the grandmothers who hadn't planned on this so soon? Or worse yet, those poor babies will end up in horrible daycare situations. Give me a break!!

    June 23, 2008 at 11:49 pm |
  23. Lucy Muller

    Concerning the pregnant girls in Glouchester, Mass., they have very stupid parents and an equally stupid school system. Who ever thought up a day care center at the high school was an idiot and I want to know if it is paid for by the taxpayers of Mass.? My solution is to pay the kids NOT to get pregnant and I bet you'd see a big change.

    June 23, 2008 at 11:40 pm |
  24. Irene

    Pact or no pact, let us please stop blaming the media, economy, celebrities, etc., for the behavior of our children. Throughout my adolescence my parents were my primary influence. I watched movies, news, and read celebrity magazines often as a teen (25 years ago), but nothing could manipulate the solid upbringing my mom and dad gave me. It’s time to take a serious look at the tolerant and noninterventionist parenting styles so many American families are satisfied with these days. If parents are not guiding their children to become responsible and productive human beings, whose job is it, then? Unfortunately, the cycle may continue with these unwed teens having children. Perhaps many other families who may be struggling with their teenage children will use this situation in Massachusetts as a wake-up call, and begin to communicate better. Cheers!

    June 23, 2008 at 11:39 pm |
  25. Erin

    As a woman, I am so tired of blaming only girls for this problem. What about the boys/men who engage in sex with girls/women who then end up pregnant??? Maybe if men had the same issues relating to responsibility, the pregnancy rate in the US would be lower??? It does take two to tango. As the mother of a young son, I feel I need to raise my son with the same morality as a mother of a daughter. Stop letting men off the hook so easily. Anderson, why don't you talk about the male side to this epidemic instead of always focusing on the females....

    June 23, 2008 at 11:37 pm |
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