Carmen Ana Rodriguez, the principal of Clinton Avenue School in New Haven, has been placed on paid administrative leave after she allegedly failed to act after seeing some students engaging in a "cinnamon challenge."
A cinnamon challenge consists of people trying to eat or swallow a spoonful or shot glass full of powdered cinnamon. The cinnamon has to be consumed without taking water or any other liquid. It is difficult to do because the spice is so dry. Participants in the challenge can end up gagging, choking, or vomiting.
Sources told the New Haven Register
the school district as well as the state's Department of Children and Families are conducting investigations.
Chief Operative Officer, William Clark, confirmed to the New Haven Register that Rodriguez is in fact on leave but would not divulge details. Her duties have been assumed by Assistant Principal Sandra Kaliszewski.
It is not known exactly when the cinnamon challenge stunt began, but it has been around for a few years. Last October, housemates in the U.K. reality show, Big Brother
, engaged in the practice. In recent years, thousands and thousands of challenges have been filmed and posted on YouTube.
Ingesting cinnamon in this manner is especially dangerous for teens who have asthma and can cause severe chest pain.
Dr. David Katz, director of the Yale University Preventive Research Center, was quoted in the Daily Mail
I think this is a real hazard here... Some will end up aspirating cinnamon and some could have acute respiratory distress.
Katz added that simply eating a lot of cinnamon in regular ways is not bad for a person's health. He added that the spice has a positive benefit of controlling blood sugar.