A student in New York is feeling the heat after he got in trouble at school for bringing along several ghost peppers to class and giving them to his peers.
Nick Lien, a junior at Centereach High School, brought several ghost peppers — or bhut jolokia — to school but ended up in the school’s office after his friends fell ill from ingesting them.
The ghost pepper is widely known for being one of the hottest peppers on Earth; it is 400 times spicier than Tabasco.
Lien had bought three of them online for $12.
“My friends saw that I had the new ghost pepper with me,” Lien told CBS 2, “and they all wanted to see how spicy it really was, because everybody thought that basically they could handle it and it was nothing. So they all tried a piece.”
It was not long after they ingested the peppers that Lien's classmates before started to feel the effects.
"They're teenagers, and they thought they could handle anything," Lien told the New York Post. "Maybe 5 to 10 seconds later it affected some of them."
Two of his classmates ended up leaving gym class and going to the nurse’s office. Their symptoms included stomach pains, reddened faces, and burned tongues.
"One ran to go get milk," Lien recounted. "Two were standing trying to fume it out and then they went to the nurse. They aren't mad at me but they were in the moment."
Soon Lien found himself standing in the school’s office.
“I was shocked, because I didn’t realize that giving someone a pepper could get me into as much trouble as I was in,” he said.
He was then told that he was going to either serve detention after school for 2 days or perform an in-school suspension for one day.
Nick’s mother, Sharon Lien, was informed of her child’s actions.
“I ran to the school to wonder why,” Sharon explained to CBS 2. “I didn’t know what it was. I asked if it was pepper spray, peppers on sandwiches, and she said it was my son brought a pepper to school – which I happen to have. We eat hot peppers, so it’s, like, no big deal.
“I eat hot food," Sharon added. "My family eats hot food. It’s just in our blood.”
The superintendent of Middle County School District reportedly said that she will not allow the health of her students to be compromised, according to CBS 2. She believes that ghost peppers pose a threat and thinks that Lien should serve out his punishment.
“I was told that it’s equivalent to giving someone LSD,” Lien said.
For now, the Liens do not believe that the punishment was necessary as he merely brought in peppers to the school.
Attorney Ken Mollins agrees, saying, “Students’ rights cannot be violated by dictating to them what they can and can’t bring in for lunch, so it’s an outrage.”
For Lien, being suspended when school is so close to being out would mean that his grades could suffer.
“All the work that we have now is all getting bunched together,” he said, “and if I lose two days of school, then it’s really going to affect my grades.”
Photo Credit: The NY Post