Academic Magnet High School - North Charleston, South Carolina.


Academic Magnet High School - North Charleston, South Carolina.


Academic Magnet High School - North Charleston, South Carolina.


Spicy Situations: Hot Sauce at AMHS

It’s getting hot in here!

Unbenownst to many, hot sauce has had a complicated past at Academic Magnet High School. Many students have thought they could handle an unprecedented amount of spice, and have decided that the perfect time to test these theories was in Magnet’s halls. In Ms Renes’ words, “the mention of hot sauce gives me PTSD.” Extreme spice incidents have occured multiple times since the original 201o fiasco, so continue reading for a deep dive.

Disclaimer: This article is not condoning or endorsing the actions of the students who brought and shared extremely spicy foods. They faces consequences for their actions, and, if anything, this article should serve as a warning to those who may be thinking about testing their tolerance limits on school grounds.


Incident 1 (2010)

The original incident was not actually hot sauce, but a cayenne pepper that a student brought to school. This student gave it to another student, and after trying the pepper, that student had to go home because he was so overwhelmed by spice. This experience laid the foundation for teachers and administrators alike to be wary of students bringing spicy food into the school in the future.

Incident 2 (2020)

A decade after the original episode, extreme heat returned to AMHS. On the final day before break, Ms. Renes agreed to have a holiday party at the student’s urging. Potluck style, students brought in foods to share with the class, and Ms. Renes hoped that it would be an opportunity for some hard-earned relaxation. All of a sudden, Ms. Renes noticed a student running out of the room coughing and gagging, with another student hot on their tail. A few minutes later, a girl ran out. Concerned, Ms. Renes sent a student to go check on them, and the girl was throwing up in a bathroom stall. In total, 4-5 kids were affected. As it turns out, Oliver Abar (’22) had brought ghost pepper chili sauce and shared it around the classroom. Ms. Renes states now that she is certain that this hot sauce cannot be FDA approved and questioned if it was perhaps bootlegged. Since the girl threw up, her parents had to be called, and her mom said that this will teach her to “not put things people give you into your mouth,” so if there is a moral of this story, that’s it. Ms. Renes found this affair personally upsetting because she felt that the students had taken advantage of her generosity in having a holiday party, and that it is always scary when children are hurt under her watch because it makes her feel like she hasn’t done her due diligence in keeping them safe. She also noted that Ms. Pinckney gave her “a look of shame,” and those of us who attended Magnet during Ms. Pinckney’s career know how upsetting it is to disappoint her. However, Ms. Renes made it clear that Oliver was apologetic for causing harm to another student and while things got emotional, she and he were able to heal their relationship.

I mean, it was such a buzz kill.

— Carrie Renes

Incident 3 (2022)

While this story does not technically involve hot sauce, there is extreme spice, and therefore merits inclusion as an incident. Two years after Oliver’s exploits, Pierson Tobin (’23) did not learn his lesson from others’ mistakes. Pierson brought the phenomenon commonly known as the “One Chip Challenge” to school and threw up in the bathroom after eating it. If you take away one thing from this article, let it be that extreme spice leads to vomit. While Pierson did bring and consume this cuisine without outside help, there was a misconception among the administration that he was peer pressured. This led to his class having a lecture series on bullying. If you want to avoid time in the lecture hall (the cold air and no cell service is not an ideal combination) then don’t bring dangerously spicy foods to school!

Incident 4 (2023)

A little over a week ago, dangerous spice again haunted the hallways of AMHS. Gannon Rose (’24) brought hot sauce to school on Wall Day as a part of his Oppenheimer costume; the bottle was shaped like a bomb. In his math class, Armando Reyes (’24) stole the bottle from Gannon and began coughing heavily. Dr. Cassidy, scarred by the previous incidents and trying to avoid the boys getting in administrative trouble, confiscated the bottle. There were some rumbles among students who did not understand Dr. Cassidy’s reaction, but hopefully reading about the historic buildup to the modern hot sauce incident will provide some perspective. As Ms. Renes said, “kids need to see the bigger picture.” She also offered a warning to other students: “Don’t bring hot sauce or spicy peppers to school for anyone to ingest even if it is a prop for your costume.” I think that sums it up quite nicely!

If it were me who saw that hot sauce, I would have seen red.

— Ms. Renes

Bonus Story

While interviewing Ms. Renes for this article, she shared some reflections on frontal lobe development and her differing perspectives on hot sauce from her teenage years to now. Ms. Renes recalls being 17 years old and watching her then-boyfriend and his friends inhale hot sauce through their nasal passages then turn red from coughing and have to chug milk (again, don’t try). She remembers thinking it was hilarious at the time. Now, she says that if she saw anyone doing that, she would be “concerned and disturbed.” She warns that teenagers often cannot understand the ramifications of their actions because they don’t focus on long-term consequences. She adds that this boy was later expelled for riding his electric scooter through the halls of their highschool and crashing straight through the teachers who stood in a line in an attempt to stop him. Ms. Renes concludes that he is now a failed-comedian and so she is glad she no longer finds people who consume hot sauce in strange ways attractive.


So, if anyone has been confused by a strangely passionate reaction from one of their teachers at the mention of hot sauce or spicy food in general, please understand that the past has led them to be vigilant. Spicy food has created more problems than it is worth at this school, so if you are debating bringing a possibly FDA-banned ghost pepper sauce that you bought at a festival to school, it is probably best to leave it at home.

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