, Gloucester, MA

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January 25, 2010

'Pregnancy Pact' airing triggers local backlash

The real Gloucester High School was awash in frustration yesterday with Hollywood and its fictional Gloucester High defined by teen pregnancy and low expectations in Lifetime Television's controversial movie "The Pregnancy Pact."

"I think everybody who saw it was pretty upset," senior Alex St. Peter said of the film as he left the high school yesterday afternoon. "People were talking about it."

"No comment," said Principal William Goodwin when asked about the reaction to the movie, which aired over the weekend, within the high school.

Swamped with phone calls about the Lifetime movie nearly two years after the school was the subject of national notoriety for a real pregnancy crisis, Goodwin was out in the rain at dismissal time yesterday enforcing a media ban.

"What angered me the most was the way the movie portrayed the students," junior Grant Weaver told the Times. "It showed a lot of partying, drinking and smoking. Obviously some of this happens, but not by everyone."

Before the weekend was over, anger at the movie was already overflowing online in forums including a Facebook page called "I Am Completely Against The Movie The Pregnancy Pact On Lifetime."

On Washington Street, George's Coffee Shop, which had been a favorite stop for the media members during the 2008 pregnancy crisis — including a live radio broadcast by former WRKO personality Reese Hopkins — is now turning away television crews.

"I think it is time for people to move on," said owner Dean Salah. "All of the locals are talking about it and want it to go away."

"The Pregnancy Pact" is not Hollywood's first treatment of Gloucester's student pregnancy crisis, but the film's mixture of fiction and documentary — and its decision to depict the rumor-driven and never-proven pact as real — has created the loudest response.

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