Rockville High Security Footage Increases Concerns About Staffing to Monitor Cameras | NBC4 Washington
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Rockville High Security Footage Increases Concerns About Staffing to Monitor Cameras

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    Security footage from a Maryland high school increased concerns about staffing and who is watching the cameras. Scott MacFarlane reports.

    (Published Wednesday, May 17, 2017)

    Security footage from a Maryland high school increased concerns about staffing and who is watching the cameras.

    Surveillance video from inside Rockville High School appears to show the moments before a 14-year-old girl entered a boy's bathroom with a teenager. That teenager and another were charged with rape, but charges later were dropped.

    The video shows an almost empty hallway where the girl walks hand-in-hand with a taller boy to a boy’s bathroom and enters. They disappear for several minutes.

    No security staff is seen. No one tries to intervene or check on the girl.

    The two teen boys believed to be seen in the video were charged with rape, but the criminal case later collapsed and the teens were released.

    While the surveillance video does not show what happened inside the bathroom parents in Montgomery County say it's troubling the girl could so easily disappear into a boy's room.

    "It's a huge problem,” parent Jennifer Alvaro said. “It's a huge problem."

    Security staffers should be visible, Alvaro said.

    "It's all about playing defense, defense, defense,” she said. “It’s never being proactive. They're not monitored."

    A review by the News4 I-Team revealed weaknesses in the school's security camera system.

    Inside the school district's security hub in Rockville, security staff can watch 5,000 cameras inside the school system's 200-plus buildings. With so many cameras, but so few people on staff, they can't be watched in real time at headquarters or in the school buildings.

    "The cameras aren’t the end all and be all, and we know that we have to do more than just that,” County Council member Craig Rice said. “That will help in some areas where we know that there are blind spots, but we know that cameras aren't in everywhere."

    The county is considering a $2 million increase in funding for school security potentially to add more staff, more lighting and possibly remove some bathroom doors, Rice said.

    "We still have to have and make sure staff are adequately checking those areas to ensure that students aren't just hanging out there doing other things,” he said.

    The allegations at Rockville High triggered a sweeping security review of every single Montgomery County public school, but it’s taking much longer than many expected. Only 10 percent of schools, high schools only, are complete.