The principal of a Whakatane school gutted by fire last night says teachers are angry that someone would do it deliberately.
Bay of Plenty police guarded Whakatane Intermediate School overnight after fire ripped through a classroom and a resource centre, badly damaging both. Four fire trucks wer sent to the school at about yesterday.
Principal Doug McLean said there was much work to be done to restore a safe learning enviornment for the pupils when they returned from their holiday in two weeks' time.
He said staff were devastated that the fire could have been set on purpose.
"People are angry - I've been surprised at the amount of anger towards the arsonist, whoever it is. A lot of the teachers were in tears, kids were pretty distressed.
"You put your heart and soul into your school, your work, and an arsonist - it's the last thing you want."
Mr McLean said years of teacher resources, as well as pupils' work, had been lost.