The Marietta City Schools Board of Education approved the removal of 23 books with “sexually explicit” content from its high school library on Tuesday, and gave parents 30 days to submit any appeals to the list.

Superintendent Grant Rivera said media specialists and a team of district officials reviewed lists of commonly challenged books and thematic data to identify more than 700 books that may have contained sexually explicit content. From there, the group narrowed the list to 23 to remove. Rivera told the board on Tuesday he had “no hesitation” about the 23 books he brought forth for removal.

“My intent was not to remove thousands of books from this media center,” he said, but he was “candidly surprised” by the content of the books on the list. “I would have removed every one of these 23 books if there was no directive that existed.”

Board member A. B. Almy was the only one to vote against the removal of the books. She also voted against the board’s original directive.

Five of the 23 removed books are on the American Library Association’s list of the most challenged books in 2022. Six are on the organization’s list of 100 most banned and challenged books in the 2010s.

While some thanked the board and Rivera for their efforts, others wondered whether the directive would open the door for more extensive removal of books based on content that small groups of people didn’t agree with.

“To ban every book in a public school that contains inappropriate content or language, we might as well only have children’s books,” said Bella Gantt, a Marietta High School student, on Tuesday. “Furthermore, let us not misconstrue restriction as protection.”

A September directive outlined an appeals process under which parents can complain about books and appeal decisions. Two books — “Flamer” by Mike Curato and “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl” by Jesse Andrews — had already been removed from the school’s library. The school board denied a parents’ request to return “Flamer” to shelves in November. On Tuesday, it denied another parent’s request to return “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl” to shelves.

The Marietta school board set a deadline of Jan. 11 for any appeals related to the books being removed from the library. The original directive did not set a deadline.

The Marietta school system is the latest to remove books, but it’s been a frequent occurrence across the metro Atlanta area this year. The much larger Cobb County School District has made waves this year for also removing “Flamer” and “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl.” Most recently, Cobb announced its intent this year to push lawmakers to establish a rating system for books like the one that exists for movies in order to “prevent inappropriate material from being accessed by children.”

Clarification: An earlier version of this article included an incomplete quote from Gantt.

Books removed from Marietta High School library

1. “Monday’s Not Coming” by Tiffany Jackson

2. “Beyond Magenta” by Susan Kuklin

3. “More Happy Than Not” by Adam Silvera

4. “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” by Stephen Chbosky

5. “Crank” by Ellen Hopkins

6. “The Infinite Moment of Us” by Lauren Myracle

7. “13 Reasons Why” by Jay Asher

8. “City of Thieves” by David Benioff

9. “Juliet Takes a Breath” by Gabby Rivera

10. “A Court of Mist and Fury” by Sarah J. Maas

11. “A Court of Thorns and Roses” by Sarah J. Maas

12. “A Court of Wings and Ruin” by Sarah J. Maas

13. “A Court of Frost and Starlight” by Sarah J. Maas

14. “Lucky” by Alice Sebold

15. “Tricks” by Ellen Hopkins

16. “Blankets” by Craig Thompson

17. “All Boys Aren’t Blue” by George M. Johnson

18. “This Book is Gay” by Juno Dawson

19. “I Love You, Beth Cooper” by Larry Doyle

20. “It Ends With Us” by Colleen Hoover

21. “Identical” by Ellen Hopkins

22. “Grasshopper Jungle: A History” by Andrew Smith

23. “The Casual Vacancy” by J.K. Rowling