TSA officials have been criticized by an outraged parent, whose 10-year old daughter was subjected to a traumatic and unusually extensive pat-down screening.
The incident took place during the winter holidays, on December 30, at the Raleigh-Durham International Airport in North Carolina.
A young girl, identified as San Diego resident Vendela Payne, omitted to take a Capri Sun juice pouch out of her carry-on luggage. Liquid products surpassing 3.4 ounces aren’t allowed in hand luggage, and the forbidden item was promptly detected by an employee of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).
Despite the fact that no explosives were identified in the bag, the officer immediately decided that a thorough pat-down should be performed on the child, and the uncomfortable procedure, which unfolded for around 2 minutes, took place right in front of the eyes of Kevin Payne, the girl’s father.
Being annoyed with the TSA employee’s decision, the man actually captured the whole ordeal on camera, releasing it publicly shortly afterwards.
Vendela somehow managed to keep her cool, resisting the urge to scream from the top of her lungs or flee the checkpoint, after never having been flagged and subjected to such security screening before.
While she acknowledges that the purpose of such protocols is to ensure that no dangerous passengers are allowed to board an airplane, she still felt that she was frisked for an inordinate amount of time.
The girl actually felt that the deeply intrusive maneuvers, involving her chest, pelvis and bottom, went on for much longer than 2 minutes, especially since the TSA worker patted her down countless times.
Even after this deeply embarrassing and allegedly inappropriate security check ended, the family still wasn’t allowed to continue with the rest of the boarding procedures.
Since Vendela’s mobile phone alarm was triggered as the pat-down was being conducted, several additional verifications were required, before the girl and her father managed to complete all the security screening.
All in all, the entire process lasted around an hour, and the duo would’ve surely missed their return flight to San Diego, had its departure not suffered a delay.
While Kevin Payne realizes that these measures are indeed necessary in some cases, he still thinks that excessive focus has been placed on assessing the security risk posed by an innocent, harmless kid.
The protocol was extremely uncomfortable for his daughter, which is why it is his firm belief that TSA officials should receive better training when it comes to pat-downs involving children.
Therefore, in order to be counseled regarding what course of action he should take next, the concerned father has reached out to Congressman Scott Peters, who represents the 52nd district of California (including San Diego).
The politician has advised him to forward a complaint letter to the TSA, so that authorities can investigate the entire incident, and possibly provide the family with some form of compensation.
Meanwhile, TSA officials have declared that they had already revised screening guidelines involving kids under the age of 13, so that pat-downs can be avoided as much as possible.
However, in this case the officer was justified in her choice to opt for such screening, and carried out the procedure as extensively and professionally as rules currently in effect specify.
Image Source: Opposing Views