The South African Council for Educators (SACE) has officially launched its Handbook on Teachers' Safety and Security in South African Schools.
Unveiled on Friday, the handbook will serve as a toolkit for teachers on matters affecting them daily in the classroom/school environment, and focuses on their safety and security.
In a statement, SACE said the handbook is aimed at providing educators with access to their rights and responsibilities and deals with issues relating to violence in schools.
It also provides further guidance on how educators may protect themselves in violent situations they may confront in a school environment.
"It will assist teachers [in] what action to take to minimise or mitigate the risk of violence against every member of the school community. It further provides teachers with an opportunity to create a safe school environment," SACE said.
The handbook was birthed from consultation with different stakeholders in education, both at provincial and national level, including teachers themselves being the key stakeholders, while SACE was at the fore in conceptualising and developing the handbook.
"Teachers are our national assets, whose professional work builds classroom communities and contributes immensely towards nation building. Thus, SACE, as a professional body, has a responsibility to campaign for the protection of our teachers, and ensure that the image and integrity of the teaching profession remain intact.
"Furthermore, SACE has the responsibility to respond to the erosion of fundamental values that unite school communities, and act as a moral compass to provide direction and guidance in schools and communities," the council said.
Notwithstanding the importance of the entire school community, the council said the erosion of the values and violation of the human rights culture in schools has resulted in teachers being at the receiving end of various forms of violence in schools.
"Teachers' rights are human rights, and our teachers are entitled to dignity, respect and protection within the schooling environment."
The handbook is now available on all SACE social media platforms and website www.sace.org.za for download.