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The Gloucester Girls

"Did you hear about the girls in Gloucester?"

That line's come up several places over the past few days ... in the comments on Friday, at Shabbat dinner with friends. So, even though we just talked teen pregnancy with Baby Borrowers, this one's still worth more conversation.

Here's the story for those who have missed it:

Eighteen girls, none older than 16, at Gloucester High School are pregnant, according to the Gloucester Times. Gloucester school officials have told the Gloucester newspaper that at least some of the girls got pregnant intentionally "with the idea that it might be 'cool' to 'become moms' and raise the babies together."

Superintendent Christopher Farmer confirmed the deal to WBZ-TV, saying the girls had "an agreement to get pregnant." He said the teens are generally "girls who lack self-esteem and have a lack of love in their life." Still, there are some who doubt that a pact occurred. None of the girls have confirmed on the record the existence of a pact, notes Greg Verga, chairman of the Gloucester, Mass., school committee.

While much has been written about the situation, little is known about the fathers. Principal Joseph Sullivan told Time that one of the fathers "is a 24-year-old homeless guy." But what about the others? It's Farmer's understanding, according to the Gloucester Times, that many of the fathers were not Gloucester High students.

And so, the girls will be vying for spots at an in-school day-care center. The school implemented the day-care center as a way to keep teen mothers in school. But now, some are questioning whether that encourages teenage girls to get pregnant. Also questioned by some: Whether pregnancy's portrayal in the media -- "Juno" and coverage of new mom Jamie Lynn Spears, for example -- makes it cool to have babies early.

What's your take on this story? Does providing day-care at schools send the wrong message to teens or is it just a necessity to allow the teens to finish their education?

By Stacey Garfinkle |  June 23, 2008; 7:00 AM ET  | Category:  Teens
Previous: The Baby Borrowers: An Inside Mom's View | Next: The Great Crayon Fiasco

Comments


The real story was that there was a "pact" among the girls. Turns out that is not the case. You're misrepresenting a mis-reported story.

Posted by: Chris | June 23, 2008 7:25 AM | Report abuse

Where were the parents of these girls? The crux of this story is that there is a distinct lack of parenting in Gloucester. And now it is probable that the lack of parenting will continue into the next generation since these young girls have no idea what they are in for.

This quote:
He said the teens are generally "girls who lack self-esteem and have a lack of love in their life."
This is so incredibly sad for the girls and for their babies and for the future of this town and maybe the whole county. "A lack of love in their life" is becoming a self-perpetuating epidemic.

Posted by: VaLGaL | June 23, 2008 7:49 AM | Report abuse

A daycare center, while not explicitly encouraging pregnancy, removes the STIGMA of teenage pregnancy. That stigma might be the only thing keeping some girls careful about not getting pregnant. Take it away and you got .....

Posted by: Anonymous | June 23, 2008 7:52 AM | Report abuse

"What's your take on this story?"

I'm sick of the media coverage of this story.

"Does providing day-care at schools send the wrong message to teens or is it just a necessity to allow the teens to finish their education?"

Dunno. Don't care.

Posted by: Zzzzzz | June 23, 2008 7:52 AM | Report abuse

ok, let's say there was no "pact". don't you still find it disconcerting that this many girls in high school got pregnant, all at once? teen pregnancy is supposed to be on the decline!!! i just feel really sorry for all these babies that will be born to such ignoramuses. what chance do they have?

Posted by: dcmommie | June 23, 2008 8:11 AM | Report abuse

The Gloucester Girls are what you get from a society that pushes contraception down the throats of teenage girls. Tthey spit it right back in your face. Teenage girls are sick of being screwed, what they really want, and what they really need, is love, and they will do what they have to do to get it.

Posted by: Teenage Girls Rule | June 23, 2008 8:11 AM | Report abuse

The first line of your post makes no sense whatsoever.

Posted by: Teenage girls rule | June 23, 2008 8:13 AM | Report abuse

"Teenage girls are sick of being screwed . . . "

errrr. . . . apparently not.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 23, 2008 8:16 AM | Report abuse

"Teenage girls are sick of being screwed"

apparently not true for the Gloucester Girls. FYI, sex 'aint love.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 23, 2008 8:17 AM | Report abuse

Teenage girls are sick of being screwed, what they really want, and what they really need, is love, and they will do what they have to do to get it.
Posted by: Teenage Girls Rule | June 23, 2008 8:11 AM

****
Unfortunately, what they don't understand is that randomly getting pregnant and becoming a single teenaged mom is just not the way to get the love that they crave. Yes, if they are good to the baby, he or she will love them unconditionally, but the chances of these teenaged girls being able to provide a loving, nurturing family environment are slim, especially since it appears that they didn't grown up in such an environment and so have no frame of reference to provide one. The chances of these babies growing up and becoming teenagers that feel unloved and unwanted, just like their mommies are very high. Again, I find this unspeakably sad for the girls and for their babies.

Posted by: VaLGaL | June 23, 2008 8:22 AM | Report abuse

"The Gloucester Girls are what you get from a society that pushes contraception down the throats of teenage girls. Tthey spit it right back in your face."

Some contraception is NOT taken orally.

Posted by: Huh? | June 23, 2008 8:23 AM | Report abuse

I think the poster meant "screwed" in the sense of put down, ignored, not loved or lifted up, etc. rather than in the sense of sex. The idea is that teenaged girls feel dumped upon by society and therefore crave the kind of unconditional love that a baby gives to his mommy.

Posted by: VaLGaL | June 23, 2008 8:25 AM | Report abuse

"He said the teens are generally "girls who lack self-esteem and have a lack of love in their life."

What do teen age boys do when they lack self-esteem and have a lack of love in their life?

Posted by: Scooter | June 23, 2008 8:32 AM | Report abuse

"What do teen age boys do when they lack self-esteem and have a lack of love in their life?"

Drugs and alcohol

Posted by: Anonymous | June 23, 2008 8:38 AM | Report abuse

I do find it troubling that the school has a daycare center on site--because that same school, by all media accounts, has refused to have comprehensive sex-ed classes for both boys and girls. That same school refused to allow distribution of condoms or literature about other forms of birth control...uh, if there's a daycare center on premises, it's clear that "just say no" doesn't work for all kids.

Gloucester is a case of birth control--open and honest discussion of options, availability (and yes, in tandem with parents)--NOT being available to kids, vs. being "pushed down kids throats".

Posted by: VAMom | June 23, 2008 8:57 AM | Report abuse

I will be interested to see if anybody is prosecuted for statutory rape in these cases.

Posted by: BxNY | June 23, 2008 9:05 AM | Report abuse

If anyone has ACTUALLY seen Juno, they they would know it does NOT glamorize teenage pregnancy. Geesh. Now Jamie Lynn Spears on the cover of a magazine striking a multimillion dollar deal for the first baby pictures now that glamorizes teen pregnancy.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 23, 2008 9:19 AM | Report abuse

The Gloucester Girls are what you get from a society that pushes contraception down the throats of teenage girls.

Posted by: Teenage Girls Rule | June 23, 2008 8:11 AM

Where are they forcing contraception? Our current policy is to teach abstinence only education. Federally mandated "sex" education can not mention contraception or abortion. Maybe if politicians and educators pulled their heads out of their a$$e$ and see what's actually going on, they would teach self-esteem class for both boys and girls.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 23, 2008 9:24 AM | Report abuse

Here's the thing. The liberals want to tell everyone that sex is fun and entertaining and it's a great form of recreation as long as it's handled appropriate and respectfully. But actually it's for procreation. That is what its actual function is. Maybe the reason that telling people about safe sex doesn't work is because eventually they figure out that it's not just for pleasing your boyfriend. It's actually about making babies. It seems that the libs are a bit naive if they don't think the girls are going to figure it out.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 23, 2008 9:46 AM | Report abuse

There are only two people to blame in this situation: the pregnant girl and the father of the pregnant girl's baby.
If more people would stop blaming society, the media, the writer of Juno, a pop tart, the world would be a better place.

Unless Jamie Lynn is has the mother of all uteruses, you can't blame her.

Posted by: I love red necks | June 23, 2008 9:46 AM | Report abuse

"He said the teens are generally "girls who lack self-esteem and have a lack of love in their life."

Gimme a break. As if this superintendent has any friggin' idea who these girls are as individuals, what their motivations might be, what their home lives or friendships are like. How dare he opine about what their motives might be based on nothing more than the last psychobabble education seminar he attended?

If someone interviews any of the young ladies, I'm all ears. Until then, these articles and this blog are nothing more than a bunch of middle- and upper-middle class 40 year olds wringing their hands and playing "who can pontificate most".

Posted by: yada yada yada | June 23, 2008 9:47 AM | Report abuse

Take the day care centers out of the high schools. Make those girls drop out of high school and bar them from graduating from their class. Let them see how 'glamourous' it will be to get through life without an education and an unwanted baby hanging like an albatross around their neck.

Back in the olden days when I was in school bad girls that got 'in trouble' left town for a while and put their babies up for adoption. If they came back to town, they were shunned. Maybe we should make things a little tougher -- take away the safety nets and make them cope on their own.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 23, 2008 9:50 AM | Report abuse

"I'm all ears. Until then, these articles and this blog are nothing more than a bunch of middle- and upper-middle class 40 year olds wringing their hands and playing "who can pontificate most". "

Not me I love rednecks

Posted by: I love red necks | June 23, 2008 9:58 AM | Report abuse

"Here's the thing. The liberals want to tell everyone that sex is fun and entertaining and it's a great form of recreation as long as it's handled appropriate and respectfully. But actually it's for procreation."

So basically you're saying if you can not have children or have chosen not to have children then you are not allowed to have sex? Or for that matter you are not allowed to get married? Also, liberals aren't the only ones that think sex is fun and entertaining, just ask ultra conservative Ted Haggard.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 23, 2008 10:01 AM | Report abuse

Give them daycare in high school. It won't encourage pregnancy if you also have good sex education classes, good classes on how to manage a budget (use the local minimum wage as the main case study), how to buy food on a tight budget to create healthy meals. This can be infused throughout the school. e.g. in biology class study the nutritional needs of people, in math class, work on budget, as an assignment, have them look up prices in grocery store, have a cooking class, establish a school vegetable garden, in economics class, discuss wages and cost of living, and most importantly, have mentoring programs, e.g. big brother/big sister. So the kids feel loved and understood. This story is not new, but we could use this as a rallying cry.

Posted by: Toni | June 23, 2008 10:04 AM | Report abuse

"The liberals want to tell everyone that sex is fun and entertaining and it's a great form of recreation as long as it's handled appropriate and respectfully. But actually it's for procreation."

Right. That's why dogs have sex.

Posted by: Oh, brother | June 23, 2008 10:05 AM | Report abuse

"The liberals want to tell everyone that sex is fun and entertaining and it's a great form of recreation as long as it's handled appropriate and respectfully. But actually it's for procreation."

Now that we all understand the motivation behind centuries of adultery . . .

Posted by: Anonymous | June 23, 2008 10:06 AM | Report abuse

"Right. That's why dogs have sex."

Dogs are liberal?!!! Crikey, I thought their barks sounded like Obama.

Posted by: I knew it. | June 23, 2008 10:08 AM | Report abuse

The million dollar questionis: Why did these teenagers *WANT* to get pregnant?

maybe it's because public education stresses education as the only way to achieve economic success. Given the astronomical expense of paying for 4 years of college, getting a good job in a dwindling yet very competitive ecomomy that pays decent health care benefits, meeting a man that will stick with them for life, saving up enough money to afford the increased cost of housing and the expense of child care, I can see why a teenager that wants to be a mother but finds herself marganalized by her current situation would want to get one in while she has a chance. Unfortunately, economic trends in the US are forcing women to delay pregnancy at a later and later age, but teenagers, as we all know, are notorious for rebellion, and regrettably follow trends whether good or bad.

Posted by: BC is not the issue | June 23, 2008 10:09 AM | Report abuse

"Back in the olden days when I was in school bad girls that got 'in trouble' left town for a while and put their babies up for adoption. If they came back to town, they were shunned. Maybe we should make things a little tougher -- take away the safety nets and make them cope on their own."

Or they died or became infertile from illegal abortions. Or got married quickly due to an oops pregnancy, failed to finish school, became frustrated and unhappy women on Valium, and ended up ratcheting up the divorce rate as soon as it became acceptable, after miserable family lives.

Yeah let's bring all those great times back, woo hoo.

It's funny how nostalgia influences our views of how "great" that time was.

I think it's tragic that birth control was not easily available to these teens. Especially the boys.

But I don't think that would have entirely solved the problem as it sounds like most of them would have chosen not to use it.

I think this is what happens when young women don't have anything better to aim for in their lives and speaks a lot to how families and schools are failing to reach kids and ignite their passion for - a career, to help others, etc. Those are difficult things to address, for sure.

Do I think withholding daycare will help? No, not really. Daycare is more a service for the babies than for the teens (including the idea that their mothers will be better set up to provide for them for life). Plus, having shrieking, cold-getting, spit-upping babies around can be good birth control. :)

Posted by: Shandra | June 23, 2008 10:12 AM | Report abuse

"Plus, having shrieking, cold-getting, spit-upping babies around can be good birth control. :) "

Except on an airplane....

Posted by: Anonymous | June 23, 2008 10:22 AM | Report abuse

to 9:50,

You can't force someone to drop out of school. I can see not having the day care center, but there are many women who can still finish school after having a baby, so they should be allowed to.

Plus your entire post left out one thing, the men. Two people are responsible here, but it seems you only want to punish the women, just because she's the unlucky one who was born with the uterus. It doesn't seem fair that a guy can have sex and suffer no consequences, he can go on to graduate and go to college even! The most he'll be held responsible for is maybe having to pay a token child support each month. Nothing keeps the man from walking away from a baby, but if the mother does, she gets arested for abandonment.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 23, 2008 10:27 AM | Report abuse

"Take the day care centers out of the high schools. Make those girls drop out of high school and bar them from graduating from their class. Let them see how 'glamourous' it will be to get through life without an education and an unwanted baby hanging like an albatross around their neck."

Wow. That's really cruel. My cousin got pregnant at the beginning of her junior year of high school. It was an accident. She stayed in school that year, had the baby, finished school, married the father, and went to college. She is now a Ph.D. candidate in physical chemistry. I'm very glad her parents stuck by her and her boyfriend (now husband of 4 years). She is incredibly bright but made a mistake. She is human.

I think that the key is the parents. If they stick by the girls then the babies might be okay. But these girls need someone to love them and explain what they need to do to build a life for themselves and their children. It won't be easy but it can be done.

Also, don't get me wrong. I don't condone this behavior. I went to college before getting married and was married for several years before having my child. But my parents loved and supported me as a teenage. Also, I was lucky enough to not have an accidental pregnancy.

Posted by: 21117 | June 23, 2008 10:29 AM | Report abuse


21117

"But my parents loved and supported me as a teenage."

Did that impact your decision whether or not to have teen sex?

"Also, I was lucky enough to not have an accidental pregnancy."

Yes. It's a crapshoot.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 23, 2008 10:37 AM | Report abuse

"Take the day care centers out of the high schools. Make those girls drop out of high school and bar them from graduating from their class. Let them see how 'glamourous' it will be to get through life without an education and an unwanted baby hanging like an albatross around their neck."

Great, just what this country needs, more uneducated and undereducation single mothers. And of course the fathers share no blame, they go on to finish high school and go to college.

****************************************
The million dollar question is: Why did these teenagers *WANT* to get pregnant?...because they're stupid. Plain and simple.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 23, 2008 10:38 AM | Report abuse

Pregnancy doesn't happen on accident - teenagers are old enough to know how babies are made. People make the decision to have sex and there are consequences - birth control (regardless of type) is not 100% unless it is abstinence. I guess I was raised differently - we understood from an early age (middle school) that if you decide to have sex, then you have to face the fact that you could become pregnant. My parents didn't hide anything from me and discussed it completely - maybe that is what is lacking in some of the lives of these kids. Parents need to parent and not rely on the school system to be the parent.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 23, 2008 10:39 AM | Report abuse

"I guess I was raised differently - we understood from an early age (middle school) that if you decide to have sex, then you have to face the fact that you could become pregnant. "

And then what?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 23, 2008 10:41 AM | Report abuse

"And then what?" Never had to worry about the then what - I also understood that while my parents were understanding and communicative, they would not be my rescue squad if I did get pregnant. Heck - I had to pay for my own clothes, school supplies and car, so what would make me think they would pay for a baby?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 23, 2008 10:46 AM | Report abuse

21117

"But my parents loved and supported me as a teenage."

Did that impact your decision whether or not to have teen sex?

Yes, it did. My father taught me to not "need" a guy's attention. He taught me that I could be a complete person and not need a guy to prop me up. I lost my virginity much later than many of my peers. When I did, it was to a guy that I had feelings for, not just lusted after.

Posted by: 21117 | June 23, 2008 10:47 AM | Report abuse

21117

"But my parents loved and supported me as a teenage."

Did that impact your decision whether or not to have teen sex?"

"Yes, it did. My father taught me to not "need" a guy's attention. He taught me that I could be a complete person and not need a guy to prop me up. I lost my virginity much later than many of my peers. When I did, it was to a guy that I had feelings for, not just lusted after.
"

I know quite a few women who were raised the same way and STILL chose to engage in teen sex.

Dunno anything about how the boys they had sex with were raised....

Posted by: Anonymous | June 23, 2008 10:59 AM | Report abuse

"I guess I was raised differently - we understood from an early age (middle school) that if you decide to have sex, then you have to face the fact that you could become pregnant. "

And then what?

Posted by: | June 23, 2008 10:41 AM

What difference does it make? These pregnancies were not accidental.

When I was in high school, my girlfriend and I discussed what would happen if she had accidentally become pregnant despite our use of two forms of birth control. Fortunately, it never came down to that.

As a total tangent, I'm going to be up-front with my kids about which of their relatives were the result of accidental pregnancies. They need to know firsthand that accidental pregnancies really do happen to real people so they can make informed choices about sex.

Posted by: Bob | June 23, 2008 11:09 AM | Report abuse

I wish people would focus more on the Why these girls did this. It was not just by chance and the public officals who now say there was not a pact are fools.

In poor communities, babies can be seen as a ticket to freedom. These new moms will get welfare, get medical, and will get housing. From the viewpoint of a 14 or 15 year old, this all looks good AND the teens believe they won't have to work. Then throw in the claims of having someone love you unconditionally, this whole baby thing looks even better. And yes, the media hanging on every belly twinge of the Hollywood set is contributing too.

I am not sure a daycare center at the main high school is a good idea. It is a good idea that high school moms be forced to finish their educations, but it should not be in the main stream.

Posted by: Sierra | June 23, 2008 11:19 AM | Report abuse

I agree with you Bob on telling your teens the truth about birth control not being 100% effective. My son came home from his sex-ed class saying that birth control always worked to keep girls from getting pregnant. I took him to a mirror and told him to look at the 1% failure rate. I then told him that I was blessed to have him and that given my medical condition at the time, he was a miracle baby.

Posted by: Sierra | June 23, 2008 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Sierra

"In poor communities, babies can be seen as a ticket to freedom."

Not just in poor communites. Babies can be a way to out of the house - a way to get from an abusive family life.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 23, 2008 11:40 AM | Report abuse

I am not sure a daycare center at the main high school is a good idea. It is a good idea that high school moms be forced to finish their educations, but it should not be in the main stream.

Posted by: Sierra | June 23, 2008 11:19 AM

So, Sierra, what you're saying is, separate educations are fair and equal educations. Haven't we been down this road before?

And how do you propose to pay for such schools? Would every district regardless of size have to offer one, or would small districts be able to pool resources? Would this mean busing, or would students have to leave their homes and attend these schools as boarders?

Posted by: BxNY | June 23, 2008 11:46 AM | Report abuse

How old was Mary when she bore Jesus?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 23, 2008 11:54 AM | Report abuse

"Pregnancy doesn't happen on accident - . . . ."

bwaHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!

Everyone whose parents have admitted were an accident, raise your hands. Thought so. Case closed.

Pregnancies happen on accident. all. the. time. Got another point? One that has some data behind it?

Posted by: you must be kidding. right? | June 23, 2008 11:56 AM | Report abuse

How old was Mary when she bore Jesus?

Posted by: | June 23, 2008 11:54 AM

I can't choose between,

"Darwinism taking its course" and

"Interesting moral compass".

Decisions. Decisions.

Posted by: yada yada yada | June 23, 2008 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Yes, despite Gloucester's economic woes, low self-esteem, and myriad other factors which have actually proven to play a part in teenage pregnancy, these could all have been prevented if only Juno wasn't made and Jamie Lynn Spears' pregnancy was ignored.

Posted by: Jon Morgan | June 23, 2008 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Birth Control makes as many babies as it prevents. Teaching the subject in sex ed classes and handing it out in the public schools will have the effect that it's OK to have sex at 14 years old as long as the "protect themselves".

So what do you get? A bunch of teenagers making love like rabbits and too immature to use birth control effectively. Bingo! Lots of teenage pregnancies.

Posted by: Miss Rabbit | June 23, 2008 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Jon Morgan, have you ever seen Juno? Thought not. See the movie before you vilify it. Nit wit.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 23, 2008 12:08 PM | Report abuse

How old was Mary when she bore Jesus?

Posted by: | June 23, 2008 11:54 AM


What the heck does that have to do with anything? I am pretty sure that none of these were immaculate conceptions...and while all these babies may be said to be the children of (Please insert whatever God or Goddess you choose), none of them are God incarnate, unfortunately.

Posted by: VaLGaL | June 23, 2008 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Jon Morgan

Yes, despite Gloucester's economic woes, low self-esteem, and myriad other factors which have actually proven to play a part in teenage pregnancy, these could all have been prevented if only Juno wasn't made and Jamie Lynn Spears' pregnancy was ignored."

It all started when prayer was taken out of the schools!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 23, 2008 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Is this a serious question?

Does anyone actually think these girls considered their situation and thought, 'It's fine if I get pregnant; there's a day-care center within my school so I can have a baby, have someone else take care of it, AND finish my education'?

They just didn't think. Maybe they didn't have a support system that would enable them to think through the consequences for the actions that they took (and in that sense, yes, the parents and the schools are to blame). Maybe they've been raised in an environment in which having kids isn't treated as a life-changing event or one that has any consequences at all. The point is, they didn't think about what would happen next.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 23, 2008 12:09 PM | Report abuse

"Take the day care centers out of the high schools. Make those girls drop out of high school and bar them from graduating from their class. Let them see how 'glamourous' it will be to get through life without an education and an unwanted baby hanging like an albatross around their neck."

------

Yes, let's make the girls' lives and the lives of their babies, babies who didn't get to pick their parents, even harder and more punishing than they're already going to be. And, while we're at it, let's ensure that the other half of the picture in this, the boys, face zero negative consequences for having children they can't support at such a young age.

LIke someone noted above, young boys who walk away from their babies and their responsibilities don't seem to face any negative backlash from society; young girls who don't are treated like pariahs and criminals. What a message.

Posted by: raynecloud | June 23, 2008 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Jon Morgan, have you ever seen Juno? Thought not. See the movie before you vilify it. Nit wit.

Posted by: | June 23, 2008 12:08 PM
****

Um, if you read Jon Morgan's post again, you will see that he was being sarcastic. That is if a person who thinks calling names is intelligent discussion CAN read effectively.

Posted by: VaLGal says grow up | June 23, 2008 12:10 PM | Report abuse

VaLGal says grow up

"Um, if you read Jon Morgan's post again, you will see that he was being sarcastic. That is if a person who thinks calling names is intelligent discussion CAN read effectively."

Land's sakes!
Someone has migrated over from the recently defunct OB blog.......

Posted by: Oh, no! | June 23, 2008 12:33 PM | Report abuse

I take issue with the idea that having child care in the schools is a bad thing. As a teacher, I would love to have that facility at my school not only for students but also for teachers at the school.

When I started teaching 12 years ago I was at a school that provided day care for students and teachers, and there was a training/parenting class for the pregnant teens and those who had children there so that they learned not only to care for their children but how to run/operate a day care facility. I thought it was a great effective program, but then our district decided "all students need to be college bound" so they got rid of a lot of the vocational training programs the school offered.

Truly a sad state of affairs.

Posted by: amw | June 23, 2008 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Here's hoping that tomorrow's topic is a LOT more interestng...

Posted by: Anonymous | June 23, 2008 12:48 PM | Report abuse

VaLGaL |

"I am pretty sure that none of these were immaculate conceptions..."

"Immaculate conception" has nothing to do with teen or out-of-wedlock pregnancy.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 23, 2008 12:53 PM | Report abuse

The only way to prevent most of society's problems is thorough education. The U.S. needs to educate young people to help them overcome poverty, learn that having babies as teenagers is a bad choice, how to make a enough of a living to own a home and enjoy life, etc.
Not allowing a day care in a school would just perpetuate the problem by denying the girl an education and possibly keeping her poor and making it more difficult for her baby to break the poverty cycle. Education is the key , don't do anything to further deny a young persons education.

Posted by: DW | June 23, 2008 12:57 PM | Report abuse

"Immaculate conception" has nothing to do with teen or out-of-wedlock pregnancy.

Posted by: | June 23, 2008 12:53 PM

Yes, anon, that was my point in response to the other anon. That's what the first sentence of my post says "What the heck does that have to do with anything..." Cripes, I AM writing in English, yes?

Posted by: VaLGaL | June 23, 2008 12:59 PM | Report abuse

There's a thread on this topic re: the film "Juno" on the IMDB:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0467406/board/thread/109397295

Posted by: Anonymous | June 23, 2008 1:00 PM | Report abuse

"Immaculate conception" has nothing to do with teen or out-of-wedlock pregnancy.

ValGal

"Yes, anon, that was my point in response to the other anon. That's what the first sentence of my post says "What the heck does that have to do with anything..." Cripes, I AM writing in English, yes?"

PLEASE look up the doctrine of "Immaculate Conception".

Posted by: Anon for this | June 23, 2008 1:04 PM | Report abuse

"So what do you get? A bunch of teenagers making love like rabbits "

Where do I sign up?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 23, 2008 1:13 PM | Report abuse

If these girls crave unconditional love, why don't they just adopt a cat or dog? What morons!

Posted by: The USA is a joke | June 23, 2008 1:19 PM | Report abuse

Immaculate conception - Mary was born without sin.
virginal conception - Jesus was born without sex.

I understand your point, and maybe I wasn't very clear, but my question remains the same: WHAT the heck does that have to do with anything? The answer is nothing. These babies were conceived the regular old way, via sex and, if you believe in Christian doctrine, via sin. None of these girls are the mother of the living god (probably). These are regular teen aged girls who now have (or soon will have) regular little babies that will need care and love and nurturing that they are not likely to get from young girls who thought being teenaged moms was a great idea thus likely perpetuating the whole cycle in the next generation. That was and is my point - that the post about Mary has nothing to do with teenage pregnancy in general or with this story in particular.

Posted by: VaLGaL | June 23, 2008 1:20 PM | Report abuse

I found this story disheartening. I had a friend in high school that had a baby, then two more and two marriages by 22. I haven't spoken to her in a few years, so I assume both numbers have gone up. She had no aspirations and thought a baby would just love her. She told me once "I want to have a baby every two years." She dropped out of school, got an early GED and government assistance. She never worked for a paid employer. This is the life most likely for teenage mothers, not the isolated stories of how so and so became CEO and a billionaire after being a teen mom. The reality needs to be portrayed for young people and comprehensive sex ed is the way to go. I agree our culture is too permissive of the responsibilities of sex and family but I haven't figured out a way to remedy that yet.

Posted by: FloridaChick | June 23, 2008 1:40 PM | Report abuse

When I said pregnancy doesn't happen as an accident - I just hate people calling a pregnancy an accident. They knew there was a chance, albeit small one, that they could become pregnant despite the type of birth control. So, Mr "You must be kidding, right?" , read up on the fact that birth control methods do fail. Simple concept, eh? And, there are statistics on each type of B/C that can inform ya.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 23, 2008 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Where were the parents of these girls? The crux of this story is that there is a distinct lack of parenting in Gloucester
----

I'm going to call BS on this. There is very likely not a "distinct lack of parenting" when 18 young girls get pregnant.

This reminds me of a quote the wife of the owner of a company told us 10 years ago, "If you can't afford to stay home from work for 18 years and homeschool then you can't afford to have children." It made obvious logical sense to her, but hardly made sense to anyone who had to pay a $2000 mortgage on the salaries by her husband!!!

At this point we don't know what percentage of these girls had adequate parenting. I knew great kids in college who did hard drugs because all their neighbors were doing really hard drugs. It was easy to avoid pot in Maryland where only the rich nerds or dorky heavy metal kids tried harder drugs.

Posted by: DCer | June 23, 2008 1:50 PM | Report abuse

I think the poster meant "screwed" in the sense of put down, ignored, not loved or lifted up, etc. rather than in the sense of sex.
------

Irony: the use of words to convey a meaning that is the opposite of its literal meaning

Posted by: Anonymous | June 23, 2008 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Pregnancy doesn't happen on accident
------

Wow, tell that to, ummm, my wife and I.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 23, 2008 1:53 PM | Report abuse

None of these girls are the mother of the living god (probably).
------

ValGal. you are a parody of yourself.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 23, 2008 1:54 PM | Report abuse

When I said pregnancy doesn't happen as an accident - I just hate people calling a pregnancy an accident.
-----

And you'd be wrong. apology accepted for your boorish behavior.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 23, 2008 1:55 PM | Report abuse

ValGal: Somebody is jerking your chain. This blog is posted by bi-sexual wiccans, lesbians, anti-Christians, nutburgers, angry, bitter mothers, dirty old men, supporters of Islam, and God knows what else. There's always some a** who throws in a Biblical reference.

FWIW, it scares me that some of these people are raising children. Can you imagine the miserable wretches they produced?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 23, 2008 2:00 PM | Report abuse

maybe we can talk about the need for balance in discussing whether or not this pact actually happened?

ob rules!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 23, 2008 2:29 PM | Report abuse

This blog is posted by bi-sexual wiccans, lesbians, anti-Christians, nutburgers, angry, bitter mothers, dirty old men, supporters of Islam, and God knows what else. There's always some a** who throws in a Biblical reference.
*****

HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!
Thanks anon - that made my day, but may have destroyed my keyboard when the coffee came out of my nose. Note to self - drink coffee, and then read hilarious blog that takes itself so very seriously.

And, yes, I can imagine and it scares the he77 out of me when I think that those kids will one day rule the world, or at least need to be able to check out my groceries without going postal...

Posted by: VaLGaL | June 23, 2008 2:29 PM | Report abuse

to: BC is not the issue...

I highly doubt a group of teenage girls ran the analysis you suggest and decided they are being marginalized and should have a baby now. It is more likely due to carelessness and "it will never happen to me" thinking or purposefully having a baby because you either 1) don't understand the responsibilities, or 2) do understand and foolishly think you can handle it. All of this can be attributed to one factor- immaturity. Certainly all teenagers are immature to a degree but all teenage girls do not end up pregnant. Personally, I think the daycare in the schools and the type of sex education have little to nothing to do with it - the problem is parenting. Schools are there to teach our kids facts, skills, etc, which of course can include the biology of sex, and safe sex for that matter. But it is parents who are supposed to provide the support, guidance, values, and moral compass all children need. Of course we do not know each of these girls' situations at home and teenagers do rebel, as noted above, but I think the parenting should be questioned at least as much as, if not more than, the school's policies.

Posted by: focus on the parents | June 23, 2008 2:31 PM | Report abuse

DCer

"It was easy to avoid pot in Maryland where only the rich nerds or dorky heavy metal kids tried harder drugs. "

Tha does not compute.

Posted by: Oh, brother | June 23, 2008 2:33 PM | Report abuse

the literal meaning of "screwed"

screwed /skrud/
-adjective
1. fastened with screws.
2. having grooves like a screw; threaded.
3. twisted; awry.
4. Slang. bilked; cheated.
5. Chiefly British Slang. drunk; intoxicated.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

[Origin: 1640-50; screw + -ed2]
Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1)
Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2006.

Apparently Random House disagrees with your version of the "literal meaning" of the word screwed.

Posted by: nope, not literal | June 23, 2008 2:35 PM | Report abuse

"Apparently Random House disagrees with your version of the "literal meaning" of the word screwed. "

Oh, my God. Are you related to Cliff Claven?


Posted by: Carla | June 23, 2008 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Are you related to Cliff Claven?

Posted by: Carla | June 23, 2008 2:38 PM

Possibly. I have been so accused in the past. :)

Posted by: Cheers! | June 23, 2008 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Why are we only talking about teen age girls? I bet some of those girls were inpregnated by teen age boys. We need to educate our boys just as we do the girls. If a girl gets pregnant for you, its on your head, boy!

Maybe we should tell our boys "from loving families" to talk those girls out of doing things they will later regret!

Posted by: Happy | June 23, 2008 2:43 PM | Report abuse

to anon 1:55PM - no apology made, so none to accept. Different people have different points of views.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 23, 2008 2:45 PM | Report abuse

I am 32 and married and working and we want to start a family and can't figure out how we'll pay for day care.

Some students I work with are 17 and already used as live-in nannies by their parents and provide the primary care for their siblings. Couple that with nonexistant sex-ed, and some very strict traditionally religious homes and you get a lot of pregnancies. There's no model for healthy sexuality - no conversation about choices. Things just "happen." And then, what's the big deal if you're 14 and have a baby? You've practically raised your little brother and sister and so you know how to do this. Plus, it gives you some authority as a parent - a mini adult identity you wouldn't get otherwise, perhaps some purpose to spending all your time out of school caring for little kids.

Twisted but not hard to understand.

So much work to be done with these families before you get to the actual moment of choice for a young person. So much more complex than many would have you believe.

Posted by: Roxie: | June 23, 2008 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Different people have different points of views.
-------

you hold a meaning of the word accident that is unrelated to the dictionary definition of the word accident. Therefore you either apologize or educate yourself with the quickness, because the way you talk makes no sense in English.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 23, 2008 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Of course there was a pact!

DUH!

Teens do incredibly stupid things
like this ALL THE TIME and ANY school official who disagrees should obviously be FIRED for incompetence.

You're supposed to be an EXPERT what teens actually DO to be in an education job - not an expert in what you WANT them to do!

...and definitely not an expert in what the bible says teens should do!

Nobody is listening and a bunch of pre-16 yr olds got pregnant on purpose!


Posted by: JBE | June 23, 2008 3:00 PM | Report abuse

JBE nobody is listening here. virtual shouting and no listening. stupidity in teens and adults looks the same to me

Posted by: Anonymous | June 23, 2008 3:06 PM | Report abuse

You obviously don't live in the DC area... I can't imagine any 17yo here giving up their time to do something selfless and responsible like help take care of siblings. And who exactly are "these" families you refer to? Seems you are pretty down on religious up-bringings - I bet statistics would tell you there is no correlation between teenage pregnancies and traditional/religious homes. As for the Gloucester girls - as someone who attended high school in the Boston area - while they may go to Catholic church, they are probably from pretty liberal families - MA is a blue state through and through.

Posted by: to Roxie: | June 23, 2008 3:08 PM | Report abuse

I live and teach in DC. In DC public schools in NW, NE and SE.

Some of these families are immigrant families from places like El Salvador. Some are native DC kids. They've been changing their siblings' diapers since they were tall enough to stand up. If they didn't they were disobedient. Or perhaps mom or dad were too drunk or absent to do it.

Many religions deal effectively with human sexuality. Some do not. I was referring to the ones that do not. Some of these are Evangelical churches founded by the immigrants themselves. These are churches where they may lecture at length about how it would be evil for a woman to cut her hair. A father of one my students who was a contruction worker/pastor of his church told me about marrying 16 year olds off to 35 year old men in the church because they "wanted to be together." He asked me earnestly what else they shoudl do? He also asked me earnestly(no kidding) what it meant when American adults said they were boyfriend and girlfirend? Did that mean they were sleeping together. This man watched all Christian TV and listened to Christian radio. One episode of "Friends" would have taught him a lot. An episode of "Sex and the City" might have killed him.

Many teens whose parents immigrated from another country see a real disconnect between their parents' views of family life and sexuality and what they experience in school and through popular culture. They have few ways to reconcile them and few people to talk to. Many are at home alone for hours on end while their parents work multiple jobs.

I don't pretend that they know how to parent well but they're often doing it long before they actually have children of their own.

But this isn't the only model for teenage pregnancy. I grew up in Rural PA where I had many classmates who intentionally got pregnant. I imagine some of the reasons were the same and some were different. Of the many pregnancies that occured in my high school, few were truly unplanned. I remember listening to three girls in study hall working on their sociology homework, creating family budgets. One was pregnant. One already had a child. One was, as she said repeatedly "jealous." She was looking to get pregnant ASAP.

Posted by: Roxie | June 23, 2008 3:21 PM | Report abuse

Different people have different points of views.

Posted by: | June 23, 2008 2:45 PM

Ignorance is not a point of view.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 23, 2008 4:16 PM | Report abuse

4:16 speaks as would an ignorant person. disagreement does not imply ignorance. duh

Posted by: Anonymous | June 23, 2008 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Roadmap ahead. Follow closely.

1. Pregnancy doesn't happen on accident -

Posted by: | June 23, 2008 10:39 AM

2. Different people have different points of views.

Posted by: | June 23, 2008 2:45 PM

Ignorance is not a point of view.

Posted by: | June 23, 2008 4:16 PM

4:16 speaks as would an ignorant person. disagreement does not imply ignorance. duh

Posted by: | June 23, 2008 4:47 PM


When you say something that is unsupported by fact or logic, and a variety of other people point out the fallacies and inaccuracies in your statement, it is not a disagreement between people with different points of view. You are simply a dumb-a$$. That's not a point of view either. It's a state of being.

Posted by: gee whillakers | June 23, 2008 5:33 PM | Report abuse

Thank you Gee Whillakers, that person would keep on spouting that they know the definition of accident and while it's different from everyone else's, they're right and everyone else is wrong because they're entitled to their own opinion of what the word means.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 23, 2008 8:02 PM | Report abuse

Daycares and the media don't encourage girls to have babies. Limited opportunities, lack of contraceptives and ignorance about reporoduction do. Once the babies are here, they need to be taken care of and the girls need opportunities to get the best life has to offer. Maybe if they hadn't stopped the in-school contraception distribution fewer of those girls would have gotten pregnant.

Posted by: MS | June 24, 2008 12:51 PM | Report abuse

"I bet statistics would tell you there is no correlation between teenage pregnancies and traditional/religious homes."

What does this means. I bet teen pregnancies is no more or less prevalant in so called traditional/religious homes. As a teenager in inner-city Miami, many of my friends got pregnant and we were all members of baptist and catholic churches. They didn't do it on purpose but their parents never discussed sex, contraception or the high value of these girls' lives with them. Now shall we retrain every parent or do what we can, provide young people with contraceptives and tell them as I tell my teenage kids: Do not have sex. At this age you are not physically, emotionally, financially or otherwise ready; you are loved and you want to fulfill your long-term plans; I know that there may be a time when you will want to have sex as we all reach that point. When you do, lets discuss it. I will not judge you and I will guide you to the right contraception. So far no babies and we have an on-going conversation about these things. I have two degrees, I'm married to a man with two degress who is the father of both of my children and I WAS A TEENAGE PARENT. My oldest is in college my second going to 12th grade.

Posted by: MS | June 24, 2008 1:02 PM | Report abuse

I grew up in the town next to Gloucester. I think there has always been a larger than average amount of at-risk teens there, for a number of reasons (socioeconomic being the leading one).

Many people here seem to be completely ignorant of the issues. They did not get pregnant because they watched Juno or because there is daycare provided in the school system. And they did not do it alone. (as someone else mentioned, why no mention of the fathers, here?)

They got pregnant because they were bored, they are often ignored by parents who are working 2-3 jobs in a failing economy in a town where there is not a lot of work. They want love. They want acceptance from someone, and if that comes from an infant, that seems good to them. They are afraid of their futures so they lock one in as a mom (seems silly to an adult, but use the logic of a 14 year old here, please). They are using birth control that fails. They are using birth control in a spotty manner.

Instead of all sitting here trying to act like we have all the answers (hello self-righteous religiosity!) can we focus on helping these kids in ways that MAKE SENSE?

Posted by: jessica | June 24, 2008 3:54 PM | Report abuse

"Do not have sex. At this age you are not physically, emotionally, financially or otherwise ready;"

How can a teenager not possible be ready physically for sex?
Technically speaking, their fertility rate is at its peak. If that's not nature's way to letting one know their ready, I don't know what is...

Posted by: Soguns1 | June 24, 2008 5:26 PM | Report abuse

you guys should chill out, the only reason this is as story at all is because the girls are all WHITE and live in a middle class neighborhood. Maybe not middle class by "we can't live on 130k" DC/NoVA standards, but middle class like everywhere else on the planet. On a side note, anyone know where the club is at in Gloucester?

Posted by: Boston | June 27, 2008 2:37 PM | Report abuse

I agree with FloridaChick - 21117's relative who got pregnant in high school and still went on to have a successful career, a good marriage to her baby's father, etc. is definitely the exception rather than the rule.

On the one hand, there are parents who support their teenage daughter's who get pregnant, and the girls make good use of that help, and graduate from high school, go to college, etc., but there are just as many, if not more who, because "Grandma" will babysit for free while they go hang out with their friend, etc, will keep a roof over their head, buy food, clothes, etc, for them and the baby, won't think twice about getting pregnant repeatedly.

I know so many young women who have had 2, 3, 4 babies by the time they're 20, and are still living at home with mom, not working, mom paying all the bills, and babysitting for free anytime as well, In that case, why not keep having more babies?

Posted by: Laura | June 29, 2008 8:35 PM | Report abuse

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