Wow. Seventeen girls, all under age 16, who attend 1,200-student Gloucester High School in Massachusetts, are pregnant. On purpose, apparently. One of the fathers is a 24-year-old homeless man.
According to Time Magazine, the girls entered into a “pregnancy pact” to have babies and raise them together.
As many as 150 girls requested pregnancy tests during the academic year, some several times. While it’s not certain how many were involved in the pregnancy pact, some of the non-pregnant girls appeared to be disappointed with the results.
Why would high-school girls choose such a thing? Why would they want the burdens of motherhood, mutually shared or not, at such a young age? None of the pregnant girls, nor their parents, agreed to an interview with Time.
But Amanda Ireland, a recent Gloucester grad who had a baby during her freshman year, says some of her now pregnant schoolmates commented on how lucky she was. “They’re so excited to finally have someone to love them unconditionally,” Ms. Ireland says. “I try to explain it’s hard to feel loved when an infant is screaming to be fed at 3 a.m.”
And the agreement to raise the children together suggests that they’re searching for a community, or even an ersatz family.
“Families are broken,” school superintendent Christopher Farmer points out. “Many of our young people are growing up directionless.”
Certainly the school sends mixed messages about unwed parenthood. In addition to offerring pregnancy tests, it provides day-care, free of charge, for students’ children. As girls navigate the hallways, many are pushing strollers.
Apparently missing the point that girls are getting pregnant on purpose, Gloucester High’s medical director and nurse practitioner advocated giving students contraception, without their parents’ consent, as though pills, and not parents, would calm the crisis. In the face of strong opposition, the two resigned.
Good riddance. When more than 20 percent of a high school’s female student population are requesting, and granted, pregnancy tests, something is wrong that pills can’t correct. When a significant number of 14- and 15-year-olds are seeking mutual motherhood, it’s clear that they’re looking for something that they won’t find in a pill pack, or in sex, or in a baby.