A Michigan high school's decision to allow a gender-neutral prom court this spring -- after denying a transgendered student the title of homecoming king last fall -- has angered and "disappointed" some current and former students.
Sam Kuiper -- who graduated from Mona Shores High School in 2009 and played in the school's marching band alongside Oak Reed, the transgendered student who was denied the homecoming-king crown after being voted in by classmates -- said he doesn't think a "permanent change" to prom traditions was necessary.
"It should be flexible enough to be changed on a case-by-case basis," Kuiper told FoxNews.com in an e-mail.
Although school officials struggled to control the fire following the controversy surrounding last fall's vote, Kuiper said he hopes other nearby school districts can learn from the incident.
"Other high schools should take note of how the situation was handled by [Mona Shores High School] and possibly shape their policies around our end result," Kuiper's message continued.
Several current students said they had mixed feelings about the new gender-neutral prom court, however.
"In all honesty, I strongly disagree with it," one student who asked not to be identified wrote FoxNews.com in an e-mail. "I do not think it is right for the school district to make a decision like this based on one student."
"The district made this decision because of the chaos that was started by the incident at homecoming last fall. I feel that they are not doing this to be politically correct, but simply to avoid negative press -- and the negative responses that were generated last fall," the student wrote.
The student suggested that the policy be implemented for "this year only," since Reed is a senior.
"I can assure you there are many others who share my opinion," the message continued.
Another Mona Shores student, who also asked not to be identified, said he wouldn't be surprised if the idea caught on at other schools and districts.
"I only believe that would happen because of pressure from the 'minority' group that desires it," the student said. "I have no bias against transgender, homosexual or all alike, but I do not believe that we should be changing the precedence of the male-female court on account of someone 'not getting their way' or feeling 'discriminated' against."
To coincide with the gender-neutral prom court, the student suggested that school locker rooms and bathrooms be changed to unisex facilities.
Another student at Mona Shores said she was "disappointed" that a longstanding tradition had been changed because of one student.
"There is some talk around the school right now about having another prom that students and parent volunteers would organize," the female senior wrote. "Possibilities would include a different venue, maybe on the same night/time, and we get to vote for our own king & queen."
Another student, senior John Skocelas, told WOOD-TV he thought it was wrong to change the policy based on one student.
"It's our vote," he told the NBC affiliate. "It's not what the school wants, it's what we want."
Officials at the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan and Mona Shores High School announced the change on Monday. ACLU officials, in cooperation with law firm Sidley Austin LLP, had sent the school a letter following last year's vote detailing concerns of suppressing free speech and discrimination based on gender identity.
Mona Shores Public School Superintendent Terry Babbitt told FoxNews.com the "building-level" policy change has been unanimously approved by the school district's board to move toward a "gender-neutral terminology" instead of prom queen or prom king. Instead, voting for the upcoming "prom court" will be open to all juniors and seniors, including Reed.
"For us, it was just a matter of doing the right thing," Babbitt said. "It's more inclusive and has a greater sense of fairness."
ACLU officials have also praised the decision.
"Schools should provide a welcoming and safe environment for all students, and should be free from discrimination," read a statement by John Knight, senior staff attorney with the ACLU of Michigan's Lesbian, Gay Bisexual and Transgender Project. "We hope that Oak -- and all of his classmates -- will not have to worry in the future about feeling left out because of who they are."
Reed, who will wear a male cap and gown during graduation later this year, said he was pleased by the new prom court configuration.
"I'm so glad that the rules have been changed," Reed said in a statement released by the ACLU. "All I wanted was a chance for all students to participate and be heard. Now my classmates and I can just focus on having a great time at our school dance."