Parents: “Be the Influence” on Teen Alcohol, Marijuana and Other Drug Use.  
Together with the Twin Cities Coalition for Healthy Youth, the Redwood PTSA seeks to improve the health, safety and well-being of our community by reducing teen alcohol, marijuana and other drug use, including:
  • Easy access by teens to alcohol, marijuana and other drugs;
  • Parties and gatherings at homes (as well as rented venues such as community centers, hotel rooms, clubs and party buses) involving teen use of alcohol, marijuana and other drugs;  
  • Binge drinking; 
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol, marijuana or other drugs; and
  • Prescription drug abuse.   
What can parents do?  You have more influence than you think.  Join Redwood's "Be the Influence" (BTI) Campaign:  
  • Make the BTI Parent Pledge!  Make your best efforts to discourage teen alcohol or other drug use by sticking to the simple measures listed in our Pledge.  The research is clear that the longer teens "delay" using, the better off they will be as adults - and allowing use at home leads to more use elsewhere .  Once you provide the contact information on the BTI Parent Pledge to the PTSA (it may be emailed to, you will be given a password to access the BTI Participant List
  • Use the BTI Participant List to get to know your teen's friend's parents and monitor what your teen is up to.  The BTI Participant List contains contact information of other Redwood BTI parents, including email addresses and cell phone numbers.  It is on a password protected page of Redwood's website, accessible only to other Redwood BTI parents. 
  • Confirm your teen's whereabouts, level of adult supervision and lack of access to alcohol and other drugs.  Get to know your teen's friends and communicate and network with their parents.  Don't hesitate to make those "cold calls" (or use email or text-messaging) to your teen's friend's parents. This is not only useful when your student attends hosted weekend parties and sleepovers, but also during the weekday afternoon hours.  
  • Model the Behavior that You Want to See in Your Teen.  Marin's high rates of teen alcohol and drug use mirror adult rates.  Remember that your teens are watching you.
  • Just Say "Know", Talk with and Listen to your Teens.   Get educated on the latest research and trends by attending Parent Education events and reading our regular BTI Updates,  emailed to BTI Parents on a monthly basis.  Make use of the timely information, Bark articles and additional resources to start conversations with your teens - and then listen to what they have to say. The BTI Welcome Newsletter for the 2014-2015 school year is reprinted below and BTI Updates may be accessed by clicking on each month listed to the left.
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September 02, 2014

Dear Redwood PTSA Be the Influence (“BTI") Parents:

Welcome to the 2014-15 School Year!  If you haven't received this letter yet or reviewed it in its entirety, please take a moment to do so  - now that the school year is upon us.  

For those parents who are new (especially those in the Freshman Class of 2018!), thank you for joining our community of parents who seek to positively "Be the Influence" in their teen’s lives with respect to alcohol, marijuana and other drug use.

Additional instructions and tips are as follows: 

In May 2013, a Marin Magazine article highlighted parental roles in Marin’s unacceptably high rates of teen binge drinking and other drug use. The article, entitled “Under the Influence,” listed the reasons for our record rates, including “permissive parenting” and poor “modeling behavior.”  The Redwood PTSA and our BTI Parent Pledge and online Parent Directory were cited as positive examples of what is being done to change community norms. Check it out and feel good about your participation, knowing you are part of the solution!

1. Review the Parent Pledge, Your Student's Name(s) and Contact Info.  If you signed the Pledge in prior years, you need NOT do so again - but please keep it current. All parents should review the Pledge and check their student(s) names and contact information for accuracy.  

Please email any corrections promptly to

  • New Students. Be sure to provide the name and grade of any student you have who is new to Redwood this year and indicate if any students listed are no longer at Redwood.  
  • Parent Info for All Parents/Guardians.  If possible, please provide BOTH parent/step-parent/guardian names, email addresses and cell phone numbers.  It is important (and often a challenge) for both parents to "be on the same page", whether you are married and living together or separated/divorced and your teen spends time in different homes.  Your teen will benefit most if all adults who live in your teen's home are a part of this program.
  • Non-RHS Students. The Parent List includes families in our community whose teens attend private high schools. Please add the names of any of your teens at these other schools - they often attend the same parties :)

2. Use the BTI Parent List Regularly to Connect with Other Parents.  

  • Get to Know your Teen’s Friends and their Parents. The List will facilitate contact with other parents and we encourage you to communicate and create connections within our community.  It truly takes a village!   

3.  Get Plugged into What’s Going On in the Marin Teen Party Scene and Stay Educated on the Effects of Alcohol and other Drugs on Teens.

  • Attend Parent and/or Student Education Forums.  Learn the latest facts on alcohol and other drugs and prioritize attending events sponsored by the PTSA, our new Wellness Center, the Twin Cities Coalition for Healthy Youth (funded by a Marin County grant to reduce underage binge drinking, alcohol, marijuana and other drug use) and other community groups and schools.  BTI Parents will stay informed as to special events around the community.  
  • Open Periodic BTI Email Updates.  Throughout the year, BTI Parents will also receive information on resources, the latest research and trends, as well as notice of parties and other events on teen calendars. 
  • Recommended Read.  Chapter 13 of Laura Kastner's "Getting to Calm" (entitled "When You Catch Your Teen Drinking or Smoking") offers excellent preventative and "in the moment" advice beyond the "just say no" and "you're grounded!" approach.  Pages 233-243 feature different scenarios and strategies, depending on your teen's age, as well as practical tips how to parent effectively and as a team.
  • Additional Resources are on (excellent revamped website of the Twin Cities Coalition for Healthy Youth which contains a wealth of current information) and the Be the Influence webpage (go to the Redwood website and click on PTSA and Be the Influence) which includes a Sample Family Agreement and our Top Ten Tips for Teen Parents.

4.  "Follow" Facebook Pages of Redwood Parents and Twin Cities Coalition for Healthy Youth.  To really stay current on happenings at Redwood and elsewhere in our community on these and other issues, add these pages to your FB newsfeed:

  • Redwood High School Parent Forum at  New this year is an unofficial FB page started by Redwood parents (and unaffiliated with the Tam HS District, Redwood HS Administration or Redwood PTSA.)  The Redwood HS Parent Forum is currently open only to BTI parents who make a "friend request" to the group.  It is a forum for parents to share information on topics ranging from academics to extracurricular activities to social issues.
  • The Coalition Connection at  This FB feed from the Twin Cities Coalition for Healthy Youth is linked with other community coalitions in Marin and is an excellent up-to-date resource to stay informed.

5.  Campus Safety Anonymous Tip Line.  Parents and students may call (415) 945-3693 and leave an anonymous message with any information relating to the health and safety of Redwood students, including alcohol and other drug use and/or dealing from the time students leave for school until they arrive back home.  

6.  Additional Parenting Tips for the Summer Months and the Start of the School Year:

  • Redwood Back to School Dance.  This is widely attended and typically held on campus the first Friday night that school starts.  It is a spirited and fun event but there have been issues in the past with students in attendance under the influence of alcohol and other drugs.  Review the Letter from Principal (usually emailed the week of) regarding school policies and discuss with your teen. Make clear your own rules and expectations that your teen will be sober and discuss consequences in advance.  Know how your teen is getting to and from the dance, expect them home soon after (be aware of local 11 pm curfew laws, especially for new drivers) and be wary of last minute sleepover requests.  Don’t hesitate to connect with any parents whose house your teen is going to before or after the dance.  
  • Parties with Older Teens.  Parents of younger teens (especially freshman) should say "no" or otherwise discourage their teens from attending large parties with teens from other more senior grades.  Chapter 13 of Getting to Calm contains excellent guidance on this issue.
  • Nights Away/Vacations:  If you are leaving your house unattended for the evening or leaving town overnight, take precautions to ensure your house won’t become The Party Spot.  Social Host Ordinance laws throughout Marin hold parents strictly and financially accountable. For a night away, contact your local police for a drive-by “vacation check”. It will help protect you against liability as well as keep your house and any teens left behind safer.  Advise your teen to never hesitate to contact police for help.
  • Reduce easy access to alcohol, marijuana and prescription drugs.  "Teen proof" your home by securing or keeping track of any alcohol and other drugs.  Periodically check for hidden alcohol, marijuana and other drugs or paraphernalia as well as “fake id’s” which can be found in bedrooms, cars and wallets.  "Just because you think your teen likely will experiment with or use alcohol or other drugs doesn't mean you make it easy for them to do so".
  • Have regular discussions about these topics with your teen.  Be present, ask open ended questions and listen to what they say.  Be mindful of the language you use so that the positive remarks about your teen greatly outnumber the negative comments ("catch them being good")
  • Model responsibility and moderation in your own behavior. This may be the most important tip of all.  Consider limiting your alcohol intake when around your teens (and younger kids) to a glass or two with a meal.  When hosting or attending a child-related event, consider keeping it alcohol free. "If its about the kid, its not about the drink."  Never drive while under the influence.  Remember that while your teens may pretend not to hear you  -  they are listening and are watching what you do.

We wish you a healthy, happy, safe and successful school year!

- The Redwood PTSA Be the Influence Committee




Redwood High School PTSA

395 Doherty Drive, Larkspur CA 94939

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What else can parents do?
  • Check out our Top Ten Tips for Teen Parents to Help Prevent Substance Abuse
  • Consider the Sample Family Agreement to set clear expectations and consequences. This is for Home use only.  Discuss it with your teen, revise it to reflect your family values, and consider posting it in your home.  It also contains "My Redwood Student's Phone Tree" collecting contact information for your child's friends, as well as their parents who are not in Be the Influence Parent Participant Listing.  " for
  • Get the latest statistics on alcohol and marijuana use at Redwood HS, in Marin and the Bay Area. The most recent California Healthy Kids Survey results for 2013 are posted at
  • Become familiar with local laws and ordinances, such as Curfews (11 pm in most Marin towns), Social Host Ordinances and Provisional Drivers License restrictions.  
  • Get educated on the effects on alcohol and other drugs on the Teen Brain (including new research on marijuana) and the different effects on boys and girls.  
  • And remember, just because parents think that their teens may or likely will experiment with or use alcohol or other drugs, doesn't mean that enabling them to do so or "looking the other way" will keep them safe.  "Being the Influence" includes keeping the connection open with your teen (while trusting them to be a teenager), watching your own p's and q's (pints and quarts) ... and reaching out to the village.