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DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A Des Moines middle school principal has apologized for denying students pizzas that had already been delivered to their classroom for a year-end pizza party promised by their teacher.

Brody Middle School Principal Thomas Hoffman intercepted the pizzas Thursday, citing a school fairness policy. That led parent Neil Erickson to post about the incident on social media, saying his son and his classmates were unfairly denied and that their teacher was “left in tears.”

“He was all excited they get their pizza today, and he wasn’t going to eat breakfast because they get pizza,” Erickson told the Des Moines Register, referring to his son.

The teacher had already paid for the pizzas when the principal intercepted them and told students there would be no pizza party, Erickson said.

Erickson’s Facebook post was shared more than 3,000 times and drew thousands of angry responses — mostly directed at Hoffman.

By late afternoon, Hoffman had issued a public apology, saying he was “overly strict” in applying the school’s standards.

Several restaurants planned to send pizzas to the school on Friday, the newspaper reported. Hoffman welcomed the move.

“We’ll gladly welcome any donations, and arrange for a nice send-off for our 700 students on the last day before winter break,” Hoffman said.