A bill that prohibits corporal punishment in public schools, except under carefully delineated circumstances, passed favorably out of the Senate Education Committee Friday.

The measure had the support of many education groups, but the Utah Education Association was conspicuously absent from the hearing. The union opposed a similar bill last year, but did not take a position on this year's version.The updated bill meets the concerns teachers had last year, said Doug Bates, legislative counsel to the State Board of Education.

It allows teachers to use "reasonable and necessary physical restraint or force" when a child's behavior threatens himself, others or property.

The sponsor, Sen. David Steele, R-West Point, said the bill offers teachers alternatives in troublesome confrontations with children.