Time magazine revealed last week at least eight students at Gloucester High School in Massachusetts have entered into a “pact,” according to Principal Joseph Sullivan, to get pregnant and raise their babies together.
Currently, 17 GHS students are pregnant, four times the norm, all 16 or younger.
Sullivan has now gone mum, certainly after school and city lawyers told him to shut up.
Sullivan’s statement to Time magazine, “We found out one of the fathers is a 24-year-old homeless guy,” demands prosecution if that mother was under 16 when impregnated and Sullivan, as a mandated reporter, didn’t inform the Massachusetts Department of Social Services of a case of suspected sex abuse.
Massachusetts General Law Chapter 265 Section 23 states, “A child under 16 years of age is unable to consent to sexual intercourse.”
In fact, Sullivan was mandated to report the pregnancies of any of his 17 students under age 16, since pregnancy is evidence a crime may have been committed.
The law would also have required the same of mandated reporter Kim Daly, the GHS school nurse who by last month had distributed 150 pregnancy tests since the beginning of the school year, according to Time. A request for a pregnancy test by a girl under 16 is demonstration she may be the victim of sexual abuse.
These incidents also beg lawsuits galore, if the absentee parents get smart.
It’s no wonder Gloucester Mayor Carolyn Kirk disallowed Sullivan from speaking at her June 23 press conference, telling the world he had gone “foggy in his memory,” and there was “no evidence” of a pregnancy pact. She also tried to de-implicate the city by taking special note of the mandatory reporting law.
As if accusing Sullivan of early stage Alzheimer’s wasn’t enough, Kirk then threw him under the bus by telling the Associated Press, “The high school principal is the one who initially said it, and no one else has said it.”
In her press conference, Kirk tried to shift blame for the pregnancies to state and federal government funding reductions “resulting in cuts to programs and services … including support for health education.”
Not so fast. Last spring, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick rejected $700,000 in free money for abstinence teaching from the federal government. Meanwhile, Patrick approved a budget increase of $800,000 for comprehensive sex ed funding, bringing the total to $3.8 million annually.
Was Kirk saying there was plenty of money to teach Gloucester kids how to have sex but none for mop-up?
But we were reminded, according to USA Today:
“This is not a story about sex education,” says Sarah Brown of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. “This is a story about a failure to take childbirth seriously. These girls could have had condoms distributed in their living rooms, and they still would have gotten pregnant.”
Of course it’s not a story about sex education, because only comprehensive sex ed is taught in Massachusetts public schools.
Had this been a school system that taught abstinence, you’d best believe sex ed would be central to the story.
Had Patrick rejected comprehensive sex ed funding and increased abstinence funding, the New York Times would be pointing it out, not me.
Why isn’t the mainstream media researching Gloucester’s comprehensive sex ed curriculum? (I’m trying, but – surprise – none of the Gloucester public or school officials will call me back.)
Obviously, this drama spotlights just some of its deficiencies. As the Massachusetts Family Institute wrote:
The Gloucester girls were never taught to have a positive vision of their future, never encouraged to abstain from sexual activity until marriage, never motivated to consider the importance of raising their child with the loving support of a husband – all taught in abstinence-also education programs that are being pushed out of Massachusetts schools. …
The hot topic in Gloucester now is whether to give minor girls at GHS hormonal contraceptives without their parents knowing, as if that is the solution to purposefully getting pregnant. Does the school plan to force-feed the Pill every morning? And while it bypasses parents, will it report cases of suspected child abuse for every girl under 16 requesting contraception?
Meanwhile, Mayor Kirk added at her press conference:
The City of Gloucester and the Gloucester School Committee recognize that parents and guardians are the primary educators of their children. They are ultimately responsible for the health and well-being of their children.
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