A Transportation Security Administration official is drawing heavy criticism after a video that shows him patting down a boy at DFW Airport went viral on social media over the weekend.
Jennifer Williamson, the boy’s mother, posted the video to Facebook on Sunday morning, writing that she was “livid” at the TSA agent.
The two-minute clip shows Williamson’s son, Aaron, standing in a security area at the airport. The agent begins patting down the boy’s arms, back and torso before moving to the back of his shorts and the insides of his legs.
By Monday afternoon, Williamson’s video had been shared more than 22,000 times on Facebook and had more than 1 million views. Many of the 12,000 comments criticized the TSA agent, saying the pat-down was excessive.
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A statement from TSA said “all approved procedures” were followed by the agent “to resolve an alarm of the passenger’s laptop.”
TSA policies, according to the statement, allow for a pat-down of teenage passengers.
Williamson wrote that her son had been detained by security for more than an hour; the TSA statement said that Williamson and her son were held at the security checkpoint for about 45 minutes.
At one point, two DFW Airport police officers also got involved, “flanking” her son on each side, Williamson wrote. The TSA statement said the officers were called to the checkpoint “to mitigate the concerns of the mother.”
Williamson wrote that she had requested that her son not be patted down because he has sensory processing disorder, a condition that can cause anxiety in children when they are touched, according to the Star Institute for Sensory Processing Disorder.
“I wish I had taped the entire interchange because it was horrifying,” Williamson’s post 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.”