A mother is furious with TSA officers at a Dallas airport after they allegedly gave her disabled son an "unnecessary" and "horrifying" pat-down as they went through security.
Jennifer Williamson and her son Aaron, who has a condition called sensory processing disorder, were detained for over an hour at Dallas/Fort Worth Airport, even though neither of them had set off the metal detector.
Despite Williamson asking the TSA agent not to perform a pat-down on her son, as she was afraid it would upset him, the man went through with it anyway.
The mother recorded her son's pat-down in a video, which has now raked in over 5 million views on Facebook.
A red-faced Aaron can be seen cooperating with the TSA agent, who spends a slow two minutes patting down the young boy. At times, it looks like the agent pats Aaron down on areas he has already checked.
Williamson wrote in her Facebook post,
We were treated like dogs because I requested they attempt to screen him in other ways per TSA rules. He has SPD and I didn't want my child given a pat down like this.
According to STAR Institute, sensory processing refers to the way the nervous system receives messages from the senses and turns them into appropriate behavioral responses.
When a person has sensory processing disorder, those sensory signals are either not detected or don't get organized into appropriate responses. This can result in discomfort for a person being touched.
People are split down the middle on their opinions about this controversial video footage.
It definitely seems excessive to pat down a young boy wearing hardly anything more than a t-shirt and shorts...
... And Aaron looked extremely uncomfortable throughout the entire ordeal.
People are commending him for his bravery.
Many have said Williamson was right to get all of this on camera.
Some have urged her to contact a lawyer and consider filing a lawsuit.
However, there are just as many people defending the TSA for its actions.
One airline employee insisted there was nothing strange about this pat-down.
Some people think the TSA agent was actually trying to preserve the young man's privacy as much as he could.
Even other people who have children with special needs don't necessarily see anything suspicious about the video.
Perhaps this will serve as an eye-opening experience for Williamson and her son, who now see what many minorities go through all the time at airports.
Williamson claims the incident continued beyond what she caught on camera, when two Dallas/Forth Worth officers were called in and allegedly "flanked" Aaron on each side.
The mother said,
Somehow these power tripping TSA agents who are traumatizing children and doing whatever they feel like without any cause, need to be reined in.
The TSA told Dallas News the two additional officers were brought in to reassure Williamson everything was alright.
The agency also claimed Williamson and her son were only delayed by 35 minutes, not "well over an hour," as the woman previously claimed.
According to DailyMail.com, the TSA provides a "TSA Cares" hotline to assist travelers with disabilities, medical conditions and other special circumstances who need additional assistance during security screening.
The agency encourages travelers to contact the hotline 72 hours before a flight with any questions related to screening policies.
Citations: About SPD (STAR Institute for Sensory Processing Disorder), Mom says TSA agents at DFW Airport traumatized son with 'horrifying' security check (Dallas News), Mother films 'horrifying' pat-down of her disabled teenage son by 'power tripping TSA agent who left him traumatized for several hours' (DailyMail.com)