Joseph Sullivan announced today that he is "proud to be the principal of Gloucester High School." But whether he will still have that job come September remains an open question.
Sullivan, or "Sully" as his students call him, touched off a media firestorm this month when he told TIME that sophomore girls at his school had made "a pact" to get pregnant and raise their children together. At a press conference Monday, Gloucester mayor Carolyn Kirk said that she and other officials had been unable to confirm what she called a "blood-oath bond" among students to get pregnant. Of Sullivan, Kirk said, "he was foggy in his memory of how he heard this information."
But the principal issued a statement today in which he said that, while he doesn't remember specifically using the word "pact," he believes everything he told TIME "was and is accurate." He added that "the mayor has not called me or had any conversation whatsoever with me concerning the TIME magazine interview."
Sullivan cited as his main source of information about the intentional pregnancies former school nurse practitioner Kim Daly, who could not be reached for comment this afternoon. He noted that his other sources were oral "staff reports and student/staff chatter, all of which I have found to be very reliable in my experience as principal."
So far, the students TIME has identified as allegedly setting out to get pregnant have declined to speak publicly about their reasons for doing so. The mayor and other school officials said Monday they have not spoken directly to any of the pregnant students since Sullivan's comments to TIME earlier this month, citing privacy concerns.
For similar reasons, Sullivan called for an end to the intense media scrutiny that has hit Gloucester in recent days. "The affected children need to be left alone with their parents and families to deal with the consequences of their actions," he said. "I will not speak of this matter again."