‘Horrifying’ TSA incident causes family to miss flight

A mother says a “horrifying” encounter with Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agents at an airport in Texas during which her 13-year-old son was excessively searched caused her family to miss its flight.

Jennifer Williamson posted a 2-minute video of her son being screened at the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) on Sunday, contending that the process was like “hell” and claiming that agents who searched the teen “deliberately” delayed the family.

“We were treated like dogs because I requested they attempt to screen him in other ways per TSA rules,” Williamson wrote in her post, which has been shared almost 100,000 times. “He has [sensory processing disorder] and I didn’t want my child given a pat down like this. Let me make something else crystal clear. He set off NO alarms. He physically did not alarm at all during screening, he passed through the detector just fine.”

CBS News reported that the incident began when agents found a laptop in the teen’s book bag, prompting a pat-down search even though the boy did not set off alerts in the body scanner. Williamson then requested that agents continue searching her son using alternate methods, citing his medical condition which causes him to be hypersensitive to touch and other stimulation.

The video documented the TSA agent’s methodical search of the teen, starting with his arms and moving down his body. The agent also checked in between the teen’s thighs and twice around his waistband before sending him through the checkpoint.

“I wish I had taped the entire interchange because it was horrifying,” Williamson’s said in her post. “We had two DFW police officers that were called and flanking him on each side. Somehow these power-tripping TSA agents who are traumatizing children and doing whatever they feel like without any cause, need to be reined in.”

Williamson asserted that her family was treated with “utter disrespect.”

“I believe he was patted down excessively,” she told CBS News. “They went over his sensitive areas, a little more than necessary, especially given that he wasn’t wearing bulky clothing or anything like that.”

In a statement to the New York Post, TSA officials said the agent in the video followed “all approved procedures” following the discovery of the boy’s laptop.

“The video shows a male TSA officer explaining the procedure to the passenger, who fully cooperates,” the statement reads. “Afterward, the TSA officer was instructed by his supervisor, who was observing, to complete the final step of the screening process. In total, the pat-down took approximately two minutes, and was observed by the mother and two police officers who were called to mitigate the concerns of the mother.”

The Williamsons were at the checkpoint for approximately 35 minutes, according to the statement, although Williamson contends that it was “well over an hour,” causing her family to miss its flight.

New pat-down screening procedures were implemented by TSA officials earlier this month in the wake of a 2015 audit that revealed major lapses in security, including the oversight of handguns and other weapons.

H/T: New York Post

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