22nd August 2008 at 01:00

It is tough enough discovering that the school you lead is at the centre of an international scandal over teenage pregnancies. To then hear that the local mayor has suggested the furore could be blamed on your "foggy" memory is worse.

These events led Joseph Sullivan, principal of Gloucester High, in Massachusetts, to resign last week.

The school gained worldwide media attention in June after 18 pupils became pregnant. It was claimed that many had been involved in a pact to have babies.

Time magazine had reported Dr Sullivan (below) suggesting that at least half of the girls did so as part of an agreement, and that he had seen them giving each other high-fives. He later denied using the word "pact", but still believed that many of the pregnancies were intentional.

A few days later Gloucester's mayor, Carolyn Kirk, and schools superintendent Christopher Farmer, announced there was no evidence of "any planned blood-oath bond to become pregnant". Ms Kirk said Dr Sullivan's memory had "failed" and was "foggy" about how he had learned about the pact.

He announced his resignation, saying the mayor and superintendent had "publicly slandered my reputation, my integrity and my intelligence". In a statement he said that without their unqualified support, the "difficult and challenging job of being the high school principal becomes next to impossible".

English-born Mr Farmer said the city had "every reason to be grateful for Dr Sullivan's personal and professional service to the community".

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today