An autistic teen also suffering from Tourette syndrome, bipolar disorder, and anxiety disorders was repeatedly propositioned by an undercover police officer to sell weed to the cop. When the boy finally complied the officer arrested him, along with 15 other students who were entrapped in the sting operation, alleges the lawsuit filed by the boy’s parents.

The 17-year-old first met Deputy Daniel Zipperstein of the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in December of last year, when he disguised himself as a student at the boy’s high school, Chaparral High in Temecula, Calif. Zipperstein befriended the teen — a welcome site to his parents, who saw their severely disordered son struggle to make friends. When he tried to invite Zipperstein over to his house, the officer "would always have an excuse, saying he couldn't or he was grounded," Catherine Snodgrass, the boy’s mother, told the Huffington Post.

The teen repeatedly denied Zipperstein’s requests to sell him marijuana or his prescription medication, the parents said. Growing frustrated, their son finally relented, buying half a joint from a homeless man and selling it to the undercover cop for $20. After doing it once more, he refused to continue. The parents say he was arrested soon after that, taken to the police station, and told he wasn’t permitted to see his parents until the court date two days later.

Together with her husband Doug Snodgrass, the family announced on Wednesday a lawsuit in state Superior Court that seeks unspecified damages from the Temecula Valley School District, alleging negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

"Certain parts of my son have been damaged in ways that I think will be permanent," Doug Snodgrass told the Huffington Post.

"The look in his eyes will forever haunt us," Catherine Snodgrass remarked, recalling the first encounter with their son after his arrest. They described his face as pale, traumatized. They said since his release, he’s suffered from insomnia, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), panic attacks, depression, paranoia, and infliction of self-injury.

The Snodgrasses have been in and out of courtrooms since the arrest was made last year, according to statements made on the family’s legal fund page, which they’ve started to help finance the lawsuit. “Our son returned to school in March but the district still wants to expel him and has filed an appeal of the judge’s ruling to try and expel him again,” the statement reads. “This is confusing because our son is graduating in December and the appeal process would not be complete until after our son has graduated.”

Much of the family’s outrage stems from the way police charged their son with a crime. Critics of sting operations call the tactic “entrapment,” as they view the law enforcement agency more as a creator of crime than a deterrent of it. Teens especially, more emotionally vulnerable than rational grown adults, and who otherwise have no intentions of getting caught up in drugs, crumble under the pressure to conform — and so they break the law.

“The majority of the students arrested at our son's school were special education students, and almost all were minorities,” the fund’s site adds.

Diane Goldstein of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, a group of former police officers who now vocally oppose tactics such as drug sting operations, said upon meeting the Snodgrass’ son, she instantly could tell he was victimized in the situation.

"Within two minutes, you can tell this kid does not have the capacity to understand what he's doing," Goldstein told the Huffington Post. "It's abhorrent that an undercover officer would continue to try to get him to sell drugs.”

When asked for comment, the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department decline, issuing a statement that says the department "followed all pertinent laws and the case was reviewed by the DA's Office. Had there been entrapment issues, the DA's Office would not have filed the case."

But Goldstein remains unconvinced. Children, she argues, deserve closer attention when it comes to empathizing with mental illness. Schools ought to institute programs to help the students suffering from such disorders avoid punishment, a lot of which, she says, stems from behavior produced by the disorder itself. "Otherwise,” she said, “it’s a school-to-prison pipeline."