There was a time when alcohol-fueled teen parties either went silent or busted at the seams if an adult walked in.
But not only did the sweaty shindig pictured below continue apace after a grownup showed up (he’s in the middle wearing the long-sleeved white-collared shirt holding a cell phone) — the adult in question is Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler.
He’s the same Doug Gansler who’s running for Maryland governor as a Democrat.
The photo was taken at a Delaware beach house that Gansler and other parents rented for their children for a week to celebrate their graduation from the Landon School in Bethesda, Md. It was posted to Instagram then ran in The Baltimore Sun on Thursday.
Gansler told the Sun he stopped by the house for a few minutes to talk to his son about when they would depart the next morning, adding that his son wasn’t drinking and he couldn’t recall if he saw underage teenagers consuming alcohol.
“Assume for purposes of discussion that there was widespread drinking at this party,” Gansler told the newspaper. “How is that relevant to me? … The question is, do I have any moral authority over other people’s children at beach week in another state? I say no.”
The Sun interviewed party attendees who confirmed many of the teens there were drinking. “I don’t remember much,” one anonymous attendee told the paper, “but it was one of the best parties I’ve been to, hands down.”
Gansler, the state’s attorney general since 2007, has spoken against underage drinking, appearing less than a year ago in a video for the Century Council, a nonprofit that combats teen drinking and drunk driving.
“Parents, you’re the leading influence on your teens’ decision not to drink,” Gansler said in a video filmed as part of the organization’s “Ask, Listen, Learn” initiative to push parents to talk to middle school children about not drinking. “It’s never too early to talk with your kids about smart ways to say no.”
Century Council CEO and president Ralph Blackman, after learning Gansler was at a teen alcohol party, told the Sun, “Let me pick myself up off the floor here.”
“You can agree, you can disagree with the legal age,” Blackman said, adding that doing nothing when underage alcohol consumption is in progress may mean “you are somehow suggesting that it is OK to break the law. It’s part of the value systems that go into young people’s decision making.”
Michael Gimbel, an independent consultant and the former alcohol abuse prevention official for Baltimore County, told the Sun that looking away is “totally inappropriate for an adult, especially for an elected official whose job is to uphold the laws of the state or any state. For any parent to do this is irresponsible. But for an attorney general who fought for these laws on the books is even worse.”
Here’s a report from WBFF-TV in Baltimore:
(H/T: National Journal)