Outrage at Pizza Hut After Special Needs Children Told to Hurry up to Make Way for 'Regular' Customers

Pizza Hut has apologized to a group of special needs students who were allegedly told by an employee to hurry up and clean after themselves to make way for "regular" customers.

Keith Duncan, superintendent at Lauderdale County Schools, has described his outrage after hearing about how the students from Halls High School were talked about by a worker at a Pizza Hut in Ripley, Tennessee, on December 13.

His stepdaughter was one of around 20 students who were eating at the restaurant when the alleged incident occurred, reports WREG.

"I do know they could have handled that a lot better," Duncan said. "Just been more professional about it. Just have a little leniency for our kids."

A teacher who was with the party added: "They kept rushing us because their 'regular' group of people was coming in, whatever that was supposed to mean."

The parents are believed to have learned about the incident after seeing it being reported on social media.

"So this just in, Pizza Hut in Ripley, TN makes special needs class serve and clean up after themselves before their 'regular' customers come in," tweeted @HatherBensch. "Manager shrieking responsibility, and corporate defending it's employees. Who will speak up for these kids, and make this right?"

"Our @pizzahut absolutely sucks so there was a group of special needs class that went and the employees told them they needed to clean their own tables and refill their own drinks etc cause they weren't regular people like seriously? They all need to be fired in my opinion," added @Arctic29230551.

In response to that tweet, Pizza Hut's official Twitter account replied: "Thank you for sharing this with us. We have been made aware of this and our team is looking to investigate this further."

In a further statement to WREG, a Pizza Hut spokesperson added: "We're aware of the concerns that were raised and in no way does this reflect our standard of serving the community and providing every guest with excellent service.

"Our local franchisee has been in contact with the school principal to offer our apologies to the students and teachers.

"We look forward to working with school officials to address the situation and hope to welcome the class back into the restaurant soon."

Pizza Hut has been contacted for further comment.

Shawn Kimble, superintendent of Lauderdale County Schools, has held discussions with teachers and administrators about what their next steps could be, including going directly to Pizza Hut's corporate offices.

"I don't want the kids to think they did anything wrong because they were just in there to have a good time, eat pizza, cut up and have a great Friday," he told WREG.

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Pizza Hut store in Shreveport, Louisiana on June 29, 2018. The restaurant has apologized after a worker at a store in Ripley, Tennessee, allegedly told a group of special need children to make way for their 'regular' customers. Getty/Shannon O'Hara