HANOVER COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) – “The Handmaid’s Tale” and “Wicked” are among 75 more books set to be removed from libraries in Hanover County Public Schools.

The Hanover County School Board approved a policy in June which gave it the authority to ban books from schools with a majority vote, a rule that members immediately used to remove 19 titles.

A group made up of teachers, principals, librarians and school board administrators reviewed a new list of books provided by the school board, district spokesman Chris Whitley said Monday.

The review panel found that 75 met the school board’s “criteria for being sexually explicit” outlined in the policy, Whitley added.

Hanover school principals received the list on Nov. 17, and the district expects the books to be removed from school libraries by Dec. 22, per Whitley. The list includes the following classics and well-known books:

  • “The Handmaid’s Tale”
  • “Slaughterhouse-Five”
  • “The Perks of Being a Wallflower”
  • “Wicked”
  • “The Freedom Writers Diary”

Teachers, librarians and principals can submit a waiver request to the School Board’s Library Materials Committee if they believe the materials “to be educationally suitable and age appropriate for the intended audience,” Whitley said. But the board has the final say.

In a statement Monday, Hanover County School Board Chairman Bob May said the school district’s administration “is fulfilling the will of the School Board and our approved policy, which states in part that ‘…materials may be removed if they are determined not to be age appropriate for the intended audience due to sexually explicit content or pervasive vulgarity.’”  

The decision to remove 75 more books comes amid a rise in book bans in the United States and ongoing debate in Virginia about classroom materials and parental notification.

The American Library Association released a report last year that found 729 challenges to materials found in libraries, schools and universities in 2021, including 1,597 individual books.