This dad says TSA officials went too far while patting down his 10-year-old daughter.
Airport security is a necessary evil to most adults, but that doesn’t make it any less frightening or overwhelming for young kids. A California dad is outraged after his 10-year-old daughter was on the receiving end of an aggressive TSA pat-down because of an innocent mistake.
According to Today.com, dad Kevin Payne used his cell phone to record video of what he calls an “invasive confrontation” between his young daughter and an airport security official. The girl had mistakenly left a juice pouch in her carry-on bag, which led TSA officials to take her aside for an extra security screening. Her bag was swabbed and tested false-positive for explosive materials. After that, officials administered a full body pat-down that Payne says lasted for two minutes. Here’s a brief clip:
In the video, you can see the security official sweeping her hands over the girl’s body methodically, checking each spot where something could be hidden. Payne told NBC News his daughter had a completely blank look on her face throughout the pat-down and he could tell she was “very uncomfortable.” His daughter, Vendela, said she just kept thinking, “This is annoying. I don’t like this. I want to run out the door.”
While airport security is obviously very important, Payne feels the pat-down was overly thorough and put his young daughter in a very uncomfortable position. According to Today, TSA protocol calls for officers to work with parents to resolve issues at security checkpoints, but it does allow for kids to undergo a thorough pat-down “under certain circumstances” and when parents are present. What happened to Vendela was in keeping with their guidelines.
Despite Payne’s objections, many disagree with his stance that the pat-down was too invasive. In the discussion on Today.com, people were almost exclusively in support of the TSA, with one person even writing:
“Is it that hard to explain to a child that this is how the world works? Instead of filming the pat down maybe explain what the pat down is for. I went to a hockey game with my 5 year old and 3 year old and my purse was rummaged through. My son was confused by it, he didn’t know what was going on. I explained the officer was making sure I didn’t have anything I shouldn’t in my bag. It really is that easy to inform kids of the ways of the world.”
While it’s certainly uncomfortable to have a stranger rubbing their hands all over you, it’s important that the TSA follows the appropriate procedures with every single person who comes through their checkpoints. If they make exceptions for someone based on age or on the fact that it was “just a juice pouch,” it kind of defeats the purpose of having security in the first place. Almost anyone could come up with an excuse for why they should be exempt. It’s the TSA’s job to check everyone out and investigate every anomaly.
As overly thorough as this pat-down might seem, most people would be way more pissed if they knew someone’s bag tested positive for explosive materials and the TSA didn’t investigate the person thoroughly just because it was a child.