It’s been a while since we’ve had a good TSA outrage story.
A Texas mother says she and her special needs son were “treated like dogs” after her request for alternate screening at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport led an officer to closely pat down the boy.
Jennifer Williamson videotaped Sunday’s search of her son, Aaron, who appears to cooperate. The Facebook video was viewed nearly 6 million times by Tuesday.
Williamson, who didn’t give her son’s age, says he has sensory processing disorder and he reacts badly to some contact and there was plenty of contact:
First, the TSA officer explains to the boy what’s coming. Then the TSA officer, who is wearing blue gloves, moves behind the kid and starts with a search of the kid’s left shoulder. Nothing there. Then the right shoulder. Nothing there, either. The kid’s only wearing a T-shirt after all.
Then the TSA officer runs the back of his gloved hand down the kid’s back four times. Then he runs his hands up and down the kid’s torso on both sides.
Then the TSA officer examines the waistband of the kid’s shorts with the sort of painstaking care a tailor might show while taking in a seam. Then the TSA officer runs the back of his hand down the kid’s buttocks and upper leg on the left side six times or so, with a few on the right side for good measure. Then he wraps his big manly hands around the kid’s legs.
Now it’s time to move around to the front. The TSA officer frisks the kid’s shoulders again – you never know when you’re going to find an armpit bomb. Then down the torso again. Then it’s time to fuss at the waistband some more. Then the TSA officer runs the back of his hands down the front of the kid’s upper leg.
Was the screening a violation of privacy or just the price of safe travel in the post-9/11 era?