3 Hospitalized After Hot Sauce Scheme

A high school student allegedly spiked the cafeteria's spaghetti with hot sauce. (Image credit: Brian Yarvin/Getty Images)

A Chicago high school student is facing misdemeanor battery charges after allegedly spiking the school cafeteria's spaghetti marinara with hot sauce.

Three cafeteria staff members were hospitalized after inhaling fumes from the fiery sauce, according to Highland Park High School spokeswoman Natalie Kaplan.

"Several staff and students reported reactions to the sauce, including coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath and skin rashes," said Kaplan. "The impacted staff members were taken to hospital but no serious injuries were reported."

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Police say the male student behind the peppery prank, whose name and age have not been released, somehow sneaked "Da Bomb" hot sauce into a container of marinara sauce during the first lunch period on May 14.

"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."

Pfutzenreuter said he didn't know which type of Da Bomb hot sauce was used in the prank. According to the brand's website, "Final Answer Hot Sauce" reaches 1,500,000 Scoville units - a level of heat approaching that of law enforcement-grade pepper spray.

The alleged perpetrator will be charged as a juvenile on five counts of misdemeanor battery, according to Pfutzenreuter. And the high school plans to install a security camera in the cafeteria food line to fend off future schemes, according to Kaplan.