Published: Aug 25, 2014 7:05 PM EDT

NAPLES, Fla.- Parents are outraged about an 11th grade assembly held last week at Gulf Coast High School.

Several students went home from school feeling threatened and bullied by their assistant principal Melissa Coleman.

They couldn't believe she would be so insensitive about a deadly illness when referring to their absence policy.

In a statement to the school, parent Gwendolyn Peterson wrote: '"Really? you chose to say to these students "We don't care if you are dying of cancer." I am without adequate words to address this. There was a child in that audience with cancer."'

WINK News contacted the school district about Coleman's comments.

They say she deeply regrets her choice of words and that Ms. Coleman has personally called and apologized to the parents that contacted the school.