A bill that would make accessing pornographic material on school property a class B misdemeanor and grounds for suspension from school was passed out of committee Tuesday.

Under HB100, viewing porn on school computers would be a crime, and schools could suspend or expel students caught in the act.

Sponsoring Rep. Bud Bowman, R-Cedar City, said given the serious nature of sex-related offenses, there should be a law against using school resources to view pornographic material.

"There are laws already on books prohibiting many things in school, but this would just make pornographic material one of those things," Bowman said.

Many school districts use filters to block out pornography sites, chat rooms and other sites that could be harmful to students. Districts also have rules and policies prohibiting access to pornography at school, but the bill would add some teeth to those policies.

"This is a very critical issue and anything we can do to curb situation the better," said Steve Peterson, executive director of the Utah School Boards Association.

A class-B misdemeanor can include penalties of up to six months in jail, and fines. Students would be turned over to juvenile authorities.