Jennifer Williamson from Texas posted a video to Facebook, which has gone viral, of her son, Aaron, 13, going through a thorough pat-down at a Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport TSA checkpoint and wrote:
An angry mother:
“They detained Aaron for well over an hour at DFW. (And deliberately kept us from our flight… we are now on an alternate). We were treated like dogs because I requested they attempt to screen him in other ways per TSA rules.”
The TSA said in a statement that they conducted the pat-down due to an alarm set off by a laptop computer.
The statement reads: “TSA allows for a pat-down of a teenage passenger, and in this case, all approved procedures were followed to resolve an alarm of the passenger’s laptop.”
However, according to an interview Williamson gave to NBC News, no alarm was set off. She said that Aaron had forgot to take his laptop out of his bag while they made their way through a busy TSA line. When that was discovered, the laptop was put back through and heard a TSA agent consider it “cleared.” She said they still required Aaron be screened individually.
Aaron has sensory processing disorder, which means sensory signals aren’t received and organized into an appropriate response which is why Williamson asked that be checked in a different way than the traditional pat-down.
Williamson said: “I asked the agent if there’s some type of way that we could conduct [the screening] in a different manner than patting him down. I was then told that we could either be patted down or be escorted out by the DFW police.”
Aaron’s collar, under arms, waistband, legs and inner thighs are all patted down and checked. Some parts of Aaron’s body, like his under arms and waistband are checked twice — once in the back, and once in the front, according to the Facebook video.
Aaron seems to be calm and is listening to the member of the TSA conducting the search.
Williamson said she asked for the TSA’s policy in writing after thinking that the search was excessive but she said was not provided to her.
According to the TSA statement, Aaron’s pat-down took approximately two minutes, but Williamson and her son were at the checkpoint for 35 minutes to explain to them the screening methods.
Aaron told NBC News: “Well I was thinking then that whenever this officer was touching me in certain areas. I was taught that no one should touch you in that area and whenever someone is touching you like that, you would think, ‘oh, who is this person and why are they doing this?'”
New pat-down method:
According to a report from Bloomberg, the TSA eliminated a list of five methods used for pat-downs, earlier this month, in exchange for one approach that is noticeably more “comprehensive,”
Due to a 2015 audit, some weapons had not been detected at TSA checkpoints which prompted the TSA to make the searches at some airports include “more intimate contact”