DALLAS (CBSMiami) – A Texas mother has questions for the TSA after her disabled son was given an extensive and rigorous pat down at Dallas-Ft. Worth International Airport.
Jennifer Williamson said the agents went too far and treated her family like “dogs.”
“We were treated with utter disrespect as if we were criminals,” she said.
Williamson turned her anger into action on Sunday, recording the TSA agent patting down her 13-year-old son and then posting it on Facebook.
“I believe he was patted down excessively, they went over his sensitive areas a little more than necessary,” she said, “Especially given that he wasn’t wearing bulky clothing or anything like that.”
Williamson said the whole thing started when agents found a laptop in her son’s bookbag as it went through a scanner. The agents told her the boy would have to submit to a pat down even though he did not set off the body scanner.
Williamson asked if they could screen him in other ways because her son suffers from sensory processing disorder, which makes him sensitive to touch.
In the Facebook video, the agent explained the procedure before proceeding to pat the boy down on his back, front, and sides. His supervisor, who was observing the process, then instructed him to complete the final step.
As per policy, the TSA agent used the back of his hands for pat downs over sensitive areas of the boy’s body. The TSA said the boy cooperated during the screening and all approved procedures were followed.
“His first question to me was ‘I don’t understand why they did this, I don’t know what I did wrong’,” said Williamson. “To me, that was a sign of trauma for him to think that he had done anything wrong.”
Williamson said on top of that, she and her son were held at the checkpoint for about an hour, causing them to miss their flight.
In a statement, the agency said Williamson and her son were at the checkpoint for approximately 45 minutes, which included the time it took to discuss the screening procedures with her and to screen her three carry-on items that required further inspection.