You'll remember the story about the Auckland private school, St Kent's, and the two students who suffered horrendous injuries during the production of the play, Sweeney Todd.

The two boys had their throats cut on the opening night in front of parents, pupils and guests.

One student suffered an injury to his neck that was 8cm long and almost 5cm deep. It just missed the carotid artery. Emergency workers said they could see his trachea and cartilage.

I can't begin to imagine what that was like for his parents? Can you imagine watching a school play and your child's throat is cut?


Worksafe has released a report, and it's damning. Not surprisingly, the report says the show had the "potential for death''.

You send your children to school, entrusting that school with their safety, and the school allows them to use razors in a play, and they suffer a life-threatening injury.

Who would ever give a child in their care a razor blade?

Larry Williams spoke with the school principal, Stephen Cole, at the time and asked Cole whether the school believed the razor posed any danger to the students' lives. This was his response:

"This clearly had been checked many, many times. It had been bound in cellophane, bound in all sorts of things. It was very non-sharp, and had been through all sorts of health and safety checks."

Why did they attempt - and fail - to blunt the razor? Why did they not just use a prop razor? Or remove the blade? It beggars belief.

What is also staggering is that the Worksafe report found that two students were injured in the lead-up to opening night. The razors injured two students in rehearsals.

Still, the school did nothing.

Worksafe has identified six health and safety failings at the school, and recommended St Kent's should be prosecuted.

It found the students weren't spoken to about the use of real razors, and because of the teacher-student relationship, students wouldn't have felt they were in a position to challenge the teachers on their use.

As we know, it's a unique relationship. Children trust their teachers, implicitly.

In the end, the school avoided prosecution but opted for a restorative justice process with the victims. They paid them compensation. They spent around $80,000 on processes to improve health and safety.

But all of that said and done, I can't grasp the sheer stupidity of this situation.

You send your children to school. And from that first traumatic day when they potter off into class as a new entrant, you hand over the responsibility for your child's care to that school. That requires a lot of trust and a few deep breaths for a parent.

I think St Kent's should have been prosecuted. An apology, financial compensation and new health and safety intiatives - I don't think that's justice.

After all, what price a child's life?

Rachel Smalley hosts Early Edition on Newstalk ZB