It is believed to have been in place for several months and to have captured only video images, with no sound. Police are not releasing the name of the affected school to protect the privacy of the victim, they said.
In the announcement Friday, county police said detectives are conducting interviews and securing warrants that will enable them to analyze a recording system attached to the camera.
They said the Baltimore Field Office of the FBI would assist police in a forensic examination of the data recovered.
In recent days, more details have emerged about the unusual case. The device is the property of the school system, and the affected office belongs to a school principal, according to two people with knowledge of the matter who did not want to speak publicly because of the sensitivity of the matter.
A school district spokesman said he did not have additional information Friday. “We’re waiting on the results of the police investigation,” spokesman John White said.
School board member Edward Burroughs III, part of a board minority bloc that has been critical of Maxwell, said the board has not been briefed on the matter. He said he was not aware of the school system’s being involved in surveillance operations.
“It’s very troubling that the county police department felt the need to reach out to the FBI,” he said. “It shows the seriousness of this issue. There are a lot of questions.”
The executive director of the Association of Supervisory and Administrative School Personnel, which represents 800 principals and administrators in the county, said she had never heard of a camera being used in a school to secretly record an employee. Her members are deeply concerned, said Doris Reed, the executive director.
Reed said she expected Maxwell and the school board to do a thorough investigation and be transparent with the results. “We need to know who did this and why as soon as possible,” she said.
The discovery of the camera is the latest uproar in a county that has reeled from recent scandals about outsize pay raises and inflated graduation rates. It comes as political campaigning is underway, with some candidates calling for Maxwell’s ouster.
The news conference Monday was called hastily and left many puzzled about the latest turn of events in the state’s second-largest school system.
Stawinski told reporters he wanted to inform the public and reassure parents that the device was not found in an area such as a restroom or locker room.
He said he believed it was placed in an effort to “gather information” rather than for prurient purposes, and that it could be accessed remotely.
Officials swept the affected school for other devices but did not find any, Stawinski said Monday.
On Friday, he said police would inform parents at the affected school if they discovered information that should be brought to their attention.