High School Hot Sauce Prank Goes Wrong, Sends 3 to Hospital

Some advice: If you decide to spike your high school cafeteria's stash of marinara with hot sauce, make sure the hot sauce isn't the same strength as US law-enforcement-grade pepper spray. Unfortunately for the cafeteria staff at Chicago's Highland Park High School, that's just what one student decided to do during an ill-fated prank last month.

Three staff workers from the cafeteria were hospitalized after inhaling the fumes from the marinara, which police say was spiked with "Da Bomb” hot sauce by a 15-year-old student at the school.

“Several staff and students reported reactions to the sauce, including coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath and skin rashes,” Highland Park High School spokeswoman Natalie Kaplan told ABC News. “The impacted staff members were taken to hospital but no serious injuries were reported.”

The student, whose name has not been released, allegedly snuck into the cafeteria during the school's first lunch break and poured the hot sauce into a marinara container. The prank wasn't discovered until another student took a bite.

“A student then went through the food line and purchased spaghetti with marinara sauce, and after sitting down and taking his first bite, found it intolerably hot and went back to the food line to advise staff,” said Highland Park Police Deputy Chief George Pfutzenreuter. “Staff pulled the sauce from the line and, in evaluating the sauce, some of the staff members also started feeling effects.”

Authorities weren't sure which type of Da Bomb hot sauce was used, but the most powerful version, Da Bomb Final Answer, rates at 1.5 million Scoville units, roughly the same strength as U.S. Grade pepper spray.

The student was arrested and charged as a juvenile for five counts of misdemeanor battery. Making the situation even worse, the student ruined future cafeteria pranks for everyone; after the incident, the school announced plans to install a security camera in the cafeteria's food line.

[ABC News/Image via Shutterstock]

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