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Burglars have broken into a Christchurch special needs school and stolen thousands of dollars worth of equipment from disabled students struggling to come to terms with Saturday's earthquake.

Ferndale Board of Trustee member Jacki Morris said staff arrived at the school this morning to find that burglars had climbed a fence and jimmied a window before stealing lap tops, digital video cameras and digital cameras.

"It's not like low-end cheap stuff, this is high-end stuff we use to assess our pupils," Ms Morris said.

The school caters for 40 students with mental and physical disabilities who are still struggling to come to terms with the massive magnitude 7.1 earthquake that hit Christchurch on Saturday.

Ms Morris described the break-in as a "kick in the guts".

"This threw me more than the earthquake, really. The earthquake is Mother Nature doing her thing but a burglary is one human being doing it to another human being and that is what has thrown us," Ms Morris said.

She said Ferndale students were some of the most vulnerable members of society and could not understand the earthquake and why they were not at school.

"A lot of them don't have normal brain processing that other children have. They can't communicate like other children would.

"Now that we've had this burglary, it is another thing on top of it," Ms Morris said.

Ms Morris, whose son is disabled, cannot understand why his school routine has been broken.

She said her son was not fazed by the earthquake but now that he had not been out of school for four days, was hitting other people and himself.

"It is quite hard at times."

Another board member has had his son ask him: "Dad, stop the house shaking."

"I've got another son who is not special needs and he was stressed out about the earthquake but at least he could tell us about it," Ms Morris said.

She said the burglars also broke into a shed, a classroom and a therapist's room and so far the school is only aware of what is missing from the therapist's room.

Ms Morris said the full cost of the break-in would not be known until the caretaker and teachers could go through their rooms to check if anything else was missing.

Ms Morris said the police had been to the school and tried to dust for fingerprints but could find nothing.

"Unless someone comes forward and does the decent thing to say: I know who these people are and what they've done - the chances of tracking them down is virtually zero," Ms Morris said.