News & Politics

Special-Ed Kid Forced to Snitch in Drug Sting, Now Facing Threats

A special-ed student was instructed to act like he wanted to buy marijuana so a drug bust could go down on school grounds.

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A school official in California instructed a special-ed student to act like he wanted to buy marijuana in order to implement a drug bust on school grounds--despite the objections of the student’s parents. That accusation was lodged at a Temecula, California middle school assistant principal in a claim filed in the school district early this month.

The parents now say that due to their son’s actions, which resulted in the arrest of a 13-year-old boy on campus for selling marijuana, he has been labeled a snitch, been bullied and threatened with violence. The story was reported in the California-based Press Enterprise.

The parents filed a claim against the Temecula Valley Unified School District in early May, an action that is usually a precursor to a lawsuit. “My husband and I were just dumbfounded. How is this OK?” said the mother of the boy.

Here’s how the bust went down, according to the Press Enterprise: the assistant principal asked the special-education student to ask a fellow student for some marijuana; the assistant principal had a suspicion that the student was selling pot. The student told his parents about the request, and his parents then called the school to voice their objections. But the sting went ahead as planned. The marijuana was sold, and the school district called the police, who arrested the teenage dealer.

“They said, ‘Oh, we’re so proud of him,’” the boy’s mother said, referring to the school district’s reaction. ““Since when did school officials become police officers?”

The parents want school district officials to be held accountable for this action. The claim they filed against the district states that officials engaged in “outrageous, reckless, illegal and egregious conduct.”

The parents told the Press Enterprise that school officials have done nothing to address their concerns, though the principal did tell the mother the school let her son down.

This case isn’t the first time a special education student in the district was involved in a drug sting. The other case involves an autistic student who was himself arrested after being befriended by an undercover officer. The officer busted him for buying pot after the autistic student was asked to do so. This case occurred at Chaparral High School last fall. The boy’s parents are now suing the school district, as AlterNet's Kristen Gwynne noted.


Alex Kane is former World editor at AlterNet. His work has appeared in Mondoweiss, Salon, VICE, the Los Angeles Review of Books and more. Follow him on Twitter @alexbkane.

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