We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: Yes, the Transportation Security Administration needs to do its job and make sure nothing dangerous is getting through security and onto airplanes. But detaining a wheelchair-bound 12-year-old girl who’s ill with a genetic bone disorder for an hour because she tested positive for bomb residue? That seems like the kind of situation that could’ve been cleared up a lot quicker than it was.
The girl and her mother were traveling from the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport to Florida on Sunday to get a rare medical treatment for brittle bone disease, something they’ve done many times. She’s never had a problem before, but this time the TSA stopped her.
“It was frightening. I kinda got mad,” she told FOX 4.
Her mother reportedly wasn’t allowed close to her daughter, who was crying during the ordeal, and so she recorded it on her cellphone.
“I said, ‘What do you mean? What did you test her for?’ ‘Oh she tested positive for explosive residue.’ Okay… at that point you would think they would test her wheelchair, but they did nothing. Everything just seemed to spiral out,” the mother said.
The two had to wait for a bomb specialist to show up while other agents stood around talking on cellphones. Meanwhile, the mom says other passengers were sticking up for the girl.
“There were people saying, ‘Really? You’re going to do this to her? Y’all have to take her somewhere private where she’s not out in the public and everyone can see her,’” says the girl.
They were finally told they were free to go, with no explanation as to what the delay was about or why she’d been detained. The mom says it was just a bit much to go through to end with no, “Oh, sorry, false alarm.”
The TSA’s response, in part:
“TSA’s mission is to safely, efficiently and respectfully screen nearly two million passengers each day at airports nationwide. We are sensitive to the concerns of passengers who were not satisfied with their screening experience and we invite those individuals to provide feedback to TSA through a variety of channels.”
It’s one thing to be thorough, but frightening a little girl and then not giving any explanation as to how the situation was resolved is a bit rough. Anyone who works with people all day long should know that a little bit of sensitivity can go a long way (ahem, cough, TSA, cough).