After school officials at Mona Shores High School in Muskegon barred transgendered student Oak Reed from becoming homecoming king because he was born Oakleigh Marie Reed, a girl, students used social media to generate a swell of news coverage resulting in stories on the station Wood 8, front-page articles on CNN.com and now, of course, AOL News.
A large factor in the local story becoming a global sensation has been the "Oak Is My King" Facebook group, started by student Nick Schrier.
At the time of publication, the figure now stands at more than 7,600.
Schrier was floored by the attention his group has gotten.
"We have followers from all over the nation. ... The world, actually."
Looking through some of the profiles of the people who have joined the "Oak Is My King" group reveals supporters from across the United States, China, Brazil, Japan, Australia and more than enough of Europe to bring sweeping changes to the EC.
The Facebook group has won admirers from all over the world, including Gregory Hatt, founder of Protest for Peace, a Grand Rapids, Mich., grassroots organization that aims to be "actively involved in issues in the community" by organizing peaceful public demonstrations.
"It's really impressive to see someone so young doing something so positive," Hatt said. "We're teaming up with Schrier and helping to bring awareness to this cause."
Supporters of the push to make Reed homecoming king are holding a public demonstration Friday, at which attendees are encouraged to wear "Oak Is My King" shirts.
According to Schrier and other students, the outrage didn't stem from Reed's failure to win th e title of homecoming king. Instead, he says, students are angry because when the results were announced, Reed's name didn't even appear among the list of candidates.
Schrier and his fellow students just want the school to recognize their desire to name Reed homecoming king.
"Everyone voted for Oak," Schrier said. "He was a write-in candidate. There was a huge movement to make him our homecoming king. When the announcement was made and his name didn't even appear in the results, we were all angry."
Multiple requests for comment from faculty and staff at Mona Shores High School were not returned by AOL News deadlines.
"I'm not allowed to even talk about it," explained David Walls, dean of students.
"I love my school," he said. "I respect my school.
"I really want to stress, we do have respect for our school. The last thing we want is anything illegal or harmful to be done in the name of this cause. But [Mona Shores] needs to know that the world does not support this decision."
Since homecoming has already passed, students have kicked off a movement to name Reed as student of the month at Mona Shores High School.
"We'd like to see [Reed] honored for the character and bravery he has displayed," Hatt said.