The board meeting for Township High School District 214 in Arlington Heights, Ill., was so packed that many of the 500 audience members sat in an overflow room.
WBBM-AM, Chicago, reports the school board ignored the complaints of board member Leslie Pinney and others who said some of the books on the advanced class reading list were obscene.
Those included "Beloved" by Toni Morrison and Kurt Vonnegut's "Slaughterhouse-Five."
Many people at the meeting spoke against censorship. That group included students who said they wanted to be able to choose for themselves what to read, The Chicago Tribune reports.
Prospect High School sophomore Scott Leipprandt said the books showed what happens in real life, even if they are unpleasant, adding: "By banning it, it doesn't give us the opportunity to talk about it before we encounter it in real life."
There are about 13,000 students in the district's six high schools.