Stu­dents’ in­juries were life threat­en­ing


Saint Kentigern Col­lege has ad­mit­ted two stu­dents suf­fered ‘‘life threat­en­ing’’ in­juries when a school play went badly wrong.

On April 6 last year two stu­dents suf­fered cuts to their throats on the open­ing night of the school’s Sweeney Todd pro­duc­tion.

The stu­dent ac­tors had been per­form­ing a scene in­volv­ing a sim­u­lated throat-cutting when a prop ra­zor blade ac­tu­ally sliced the boys’ necks, put­ting them in hos­pi­tal.

On Wed­nes­day, WorkSafe New Zealand said the school had ‘‘en­tered into an en­force­able un­der­tak­ing agree­ment’’ over the ‘‘very se­ri­ous in­juries sus­tained’’.

Agree­ing to the un­der­tak­ing means Saint Kentigern Col­lege avoids pros­e­cu­tion over the in­ci­dent but it will cost the school at least $85,000.

In ad­di­tion, Saint Kentigern’s board will make yet-to-be de­ter­mined compensation pay­ments to the boys, WorkSafe’s en­force­able un­der­tak­ing re­port said.

Deputy board of trustees chair­man John Ker­nohan said the board ‘‘sin­cerely apol­o­gises for the fact that the ac­ci­dent hap­pened and for the harm caused to all those fam­i­lies in­volved’’.

‘‘Saint Kentigern ac­cepts that it should have done more to ac­knowl­edge the se­ri­ous­ness of what hap­pened im­me­di­ately af­ter the ac­ci­dent. The in­juries were not mi­nor. The in­juries were sig­nif­i­cant and life threat­en­ing.

‘‘Mem­bers of the trust board per­son­ally feel deep re­gret and take full re­spon­si­bil­ity for the emo­tional and phys­i­cal harm that has been suf­fered by those stu­dents in­volved. En­sur­ing that all stu­dents can learn in a safe en­vi­ron­ment re­mains Saint Kentigern’s first pri­or­ity,’’ Ker­nohan said.

The east Auck­land pri­vate school was en­ter­ing into a restora­tive jus­tice process with the fam­i­lies, and would not com­ment fur­ther un­til this process is com­pleted, he said.

In its en­force­able un­der­tak­ing re­port, WorkSafe said school board mem­bers met with par­ents of the in­jured stu­dents to ‘‘for­mally apol­o­gise’’ and to seek the af­fected fam­i­lies’ in­put on ac­tions the school needed to take to make amends.

Saint Kentigern’s board had com­mit­ted to mak­ing a yet-to-be de­ter­mined pay­ment to the boys at the con­clu­sion of the restora­tive jus­tice pe­riod, WorkSafe’s re­port said.

In­juries suf­fered by Saint Kentigern Col­lege Sweeney Todd cast mem­bers were ‘‘sig­nif­i­cant and life threat­en­ing’’.

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