Student Faces Charges for Spiking Cafeteria Marinara with Ultra Hot Sauce

Several cafeteria workers were taken to the hospital on May 14 after they began coughing, wheezing, and experiencing shortness of breath and skin rashes

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    A Chicago area high school student is in hot water after a potent prank sent school employees to the hospital, police said.

    The student is facing charges as a juvenile after he allegedly spiked a container of marinara sauce in the Highland Park High School cafeteria with a spicy sauce that sent three people to the hospital, according to police.

    Several cafeteria workers were taken to the hospital on May 14 after they began coughing, wheezing, and experiencing shortness of breath and skin rashes, said Natalie Kaplan, the director of communication for Township High School District 113.

    The employees were released later that day with no serious injuries and some students reported symptoms but did not require medical attention, Kaplan said.

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    The hot sauce was a specialty hot sauce called Da’ Bomb not found in ordinary grocery stores, according to Highland Park Deputy Chief George Pfutzenreuter, and reports of the symptoms came from just being near it.

    A student reported a reaction to the sauce to the cafeteria manager, who then removed the sauce from the shelf, Kaplan said, but not before several other students and staff began experiencing symptoms just from being near the sauce.

    Kaplan said the school contacted poison control and followed their direction and reported the incident to the area police.

    An email was sent to the school's students and parents stating that a hot sauce was "inappropriately and deliberately" put into the marinara sauce in the cafeteria, effecting several students and staff. The sauce was reported and immediately removed, the email stated.

    The prankster was identified by the school and the 17-year-old is expected to be referred to juvenile court this week on five counts of misdemeanor battery, Pfutzenreuter said.

    Da’ Bomb Hot Sauce’s website says when ingesting their sauce “you may feel death is around the corner, but if you’re a warrior, that just heightens the pleasure.”