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A mom left “livid” after her teenage son was given an extensive pat-down at a Texas airport says the Transportation Security Administration excessively and unnecessarily frisked the boy, all while intentionally causing them to miss their flight.
“We have been through hell this morning,” wrote Jennifer Williamson in a Facebook post that included a video of her son being patted-down at a security area of the Dallas-Fort Worth airport earlier this week.
“We were treated like dogs because I requested they attempt to screen him in other ways per TSA rules,” Williamson said, explaining that her son, Aaron, has sensory processing disorder. The condition leaves people oversensitive to stimulation, including touch.
Williamson’s 2-minute video clip shows a TSA agent thoroughly patting down Aaron’s arms, back and torso before moving on to the front, back and inside of his legs.
“Let me make something else crystal clear. He set off NO alarms. He physically did not alarm at all during screening, he passed through the detector just fine,” Williamson wrote.
The screening left Aaron confused long after they left the security area, his mother said.
“He is still several hours later saying ‘I don’t know what I did. What did I do?’” she wrote. “I am livid.”
Williamson claims her son was detained for “well over an hour” and that they were deliberately kept from their flight.
In a statement released by the TSA, the agency defended its policy to pat-down teenage passengers.
“And in this case, all approved procedures were followed to resolve an alarm of the passenger’s laptop,” it said. The TSA said Williamson and her son were kept for about 45 minutes, during which three additional bags were screened.
The agency also had a different take on the two airport police officers who were called in during the incident. Williamson said officers flanked her son on each side and described the exchange as "horrifying."
“Somehow these power tripping TSA agents who are traumatizing children and doing whatever they feel like without any cause, need to be reined in," she said.
But the TSA statement said the officers were called in to help address Williamson’s concerns.
“In total, the pat-down took approximately two minutes, and was observed by the mother and two police officers who were called to mitigate the concerns of the mother.”