RIPLEY, Tenn. (CBS Local) — Pizza Hut has issued an apology to a group of special needs students who were allegedly told to rush as they ate at a Tennessee restaurant so that “regular people” could come in.

Keith Duncan says his stepdaughter was one of about 20 students from Hall High School attending a party at the restaurant Friday afternoon in Ripley.

“She’s a very likable girl. Everybody in school likes her, very popular,” Duncan told CBS affiliate WREG. “She won homecoming queen here recently at the school.”

Like other parents, Duncan said he learned through social media the group’s teacher was told by a Pizza Hut employee that the group needed to hurry up so “regular people” could come in.

“They kept rushing us because their ‘regular’ group of people was coming in, whatever that was supposed to mean,” the group’s teacher said.

Heather Bensch, whose 18-year-old daughter attended the party, wrote about the episode on Facebook.

“Pizza Hut, please define to me who a ‘regular’ person is,” Bensch wrote. “No, better yet, please explain why my child and her classmates weren’t at least given the ‘regular’ service that anyone else would receive?”

Lauderdale County Schools Superintendent Shawn Kimble said he spoke to a regional manager for Pizza Hut who “has indicated they are very sorry for the incident and that they are willing to make things right.”

“We want our students treated fairly regardless of whether they are at school or in the community,” Kimble said.