Parents and Educators Weigh in On Role of Security Cameras in De - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Parents and Educators Weigh in On Role of Security Cameras in Delmarva Schools

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SALISBURY, Md.-This week's rape incident at Parkside High school begs to explore the bigger question: How does something like this happen inside a school?

According to the Wicomico County Sheriff's office, 17-year-old Jocori Marece Scarborough was charged after authorities watched and reviewed surveillance video obtained from the school.

"We've had multiple situations where we believe that a crime or a misbehavior was prevented because the people knew there was a camera there," said superintendent Dr. John Fredericksen of Wicomico County Public Schools, on Wednesday.

Fredericksen added that all schools including buses within the county have surveillance cameras in them which is an investment that the school system believes is working.

But WBOC asked, is it possible to arm every single school on Delmarva with extra cameras to cover every angle?

According to Fredericksen the average price tag is anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000.

"I think all schools should have cameras but I believe we have a reasonable amount as per what we can afford," he said.

A few parents we spoke with said that having extra cameras in all schools would help keep their mind at ease when it comes to their child's safety.
 
"I think that's most important, I think that is something that should be put in the budget," said Tiffany Turner of Delmar, "you want your kids to be safe and so much goes on in schools now, so everybody wants to know that when their kids leave to go to school that you're gona see them at the end of the day."

"It's just a feeling of security that while I am not around, there is someone else watching my child," said LaToya Cottman of Somerset County.

We also reached out to some other school systems including Somerset and Worcester Counties with the same question.

In a statement to WBOC, officials with Worcester County Public Schools said:

"Unfortunately, school safety is not a science - in other words, there is not an absolute guarantee. What is a guarantee is that school systems are committed to providing as safe a school environment as possible. Worcester County Public Schools believes that the highest levels of safety are achieved in layers of protection, and we share this belief with other school systems. An armed school security deputy, security cameras, and a culture of awareness, communication and vigilance are all components to safe schools."

Officials added that all fourteen of their schools are equipped with security cameras and that the school system is requesting additional ones as part of its school safety plan for the next school year. 

Meanwhile Leo Lawson, the public relations supervisor for Somerset County Schools said in a voice mail to WBOC that "we do have cameras inside and outside of our schools and of course when a person commits an act of violence or something inappropriate they should not expect privacy in a location that is considered to be a public location."

Lawson went on to say that, "We have been working on our security for some time now trying to beef it up. The supervisor for transportation and operations has indicated to me that they are going to increase the amount of cameras that we do have."

According to the sheriff's office, this week's incident was not caught on camera, however authorities said that Scarborough is seen by a camera grabbing his victim by the arm before moving out of frame. That's why some other parents said, that surveillance cameras are not always successful in serving their purpose.

"We should be responsible for our own actions," said James McDonald of Ocean City, "I mean if anything, somebody should be watching them live, if there was a live stream and if there was somebody watching every television screen then that would make more sense."

Fredericksen said that right now there are no recommendations being made by the county for more technology or security in the schools but that the school system will ask for that support at the next council meeting in Wicomico County. 
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