Are TSA Employees Really Molesting Our Babies?

Folks, this is one of those stories where I am appalled by both sides and, for good measure, by a lot of the reactions, too.

Long story short: A mom went through airport security with her baby. The baby’s pacifier clip set off the alarm. But rather than just saying , “These things happen,” and re-sending the clip through the metal detector, the TSA folks put mom and kid in some sort of holding pen. After quite some time (while mom understandably worried that she might miss her flight) the TSA people proceeded to take the baby away for several minutes, presumably to check him for…well, I’m not sure what. Bombs? Bullets? A dirty diaper that could fell us all?

By the mom’s account, which is realllllllly long, the TSA agents were worse than rude. They were jerks. But also by the mom’s account, the way I read it, the mom herself was hysterical. When her child was taken away, she reacted as if he had been abducted. She admits she is prone to panic attacks and panic she did,  but what I don’t understand is why so many of the people commenting on this case also feel that the TSA employees could easily have harbored nefarious baby intentions.

Seriously, folks: the vast vast vast VAST majority of humans have no interest in molesting babies. And they particularly have no interest on the job, surrounded by co-workers, cameras, and a zillion other people.

What would be great would be if all of us could treat each other with a little more  respect and a lot less knee-jerk suspicion, whether we are inclined to suspect terrorism or stranger danger.

Have a great weekend!  — Lenore

66 Responses

  1. A similar thing happened to a really good friend of mine years ago when her now 11 year old was 3. They went through the detector, she set it off with something in her pocket, her son took off down the concourse and NO ONE went after him, nor did they let her go after him. She about had a panic attack herself. And this kid, lemme tell you, was a runner!!! I forget exactly how it got resolved, but she was none too pleased.
    On the flip side, another family I knew about 20 years ago did, in fact, use both their infant and their 12 year old daughter to smuggle heroin into the country from India, she in her purse, the infant in… you guessed it… his diaper.
    Some people… sheesh

  2. Yeah, I saw that earlier today and was also appalled by both sides.

  3. I like to consider myself as an almost Free-Range Parent, but I gotta tell you, there is NO WAY in HELL ANYONE is taking my non-verbal toddler out of my sight! For a PACIFIER CLIP?!?!

    I was patted down as part of the “we-check-randomly” at the airport last year, and my husband turned around and started walking over. The agent stopped him, saying “Sir, you can’t come over here,” to which my husband responded, “Hey, not trying to be a problem, but you take her anywhere, I’ll be in more trouble with her if I don’t follow that with you, and I’ll take you being po’d over her any day!” The other agent laughed and told my agent to ease up.

  4. I’m with you that the mom freaked-out a little too much, but this is from the TSA’s own site:

    “We will not ask you to do anything that will separate you from your child or children.”

    Sounds like these TSA officers need to be re-trained.

    Here’s the link, btw:
    http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtravel/children/index.shtm

  5. I don’t think they had nefarious baby intentions, I think they were very dumb. I also know that there is no way I would let them take my baby from me. At some point I think someone needs to call the cops on the TSA as they’re being harrassed. I know it would probably go nowhere, but I am tired of feeling like we are all helpless victims simply because we need to use a plane to get from here to there.

  6. The mom’s reaction was totally normal in my opinion. I would have reacted the same way…..they took her son out of her arms and out of her sight! For ten minutes! They refused to answer her questions or allay her fears in any way. The mom is no way at fault, panic attack or not.

  7. I don’t think this is really a free-range issue. Maybe the mom was a little over-the-top to think that abuse was happening, but she was not overreacting. No TSA agent is taking my baby (or child of any age) out of my sight. I was happy to find out that they let me wear my 1-year-old through security in a wrap.

  8. I think what set her off was the fact that they detained her and the baby. It’s just the sheer stress of the whole situation. We live in a free country, so we are told, and no one is prepared for crazy situations like this one. TSA had absolutely no right to take baby away.

  9. Nope. No. Uh uh. Doesn’t really matter that the TSA officer almost certainly meant no harm to the child — that crap is not okay. They would have had to arrest me or kick me out of the airport, because I would not let them even hold my baby, let alone take her out of my sight. Ridiculous. I agree, Swan — it’s not a free-range issue.

  10. Some TSA people are power hungry like any job were you have any power over someone. The majority are decent. They have done studies that show even people in authority (supervisors, teachers) will often favor the bully over the victim. So it might have been one power hungry agent and the others falling in line.

    I had an agent try to take my epi pen from me, because there are no bees on planes – fine except I carry the epi for peanut allergy, and honestly a plane is the place I consider the most likely place to use it. Close contact, peanut products regularly served, I can react from touching something with peanut residue on it, and I figure mid flight is about the farthest I’ll ever be from an ER.

    In my case I calmly asked for a supervisor. Who told the original agent – What are you thinking it has a Rx label on it and she has a note on an Rx pad from her Doctor about peanut allergy. My wife has the same allergy, they can die if the foil from someone’s peanut bag comes into contact with them.

    Then he advised me, nicely, I would be better off carrying the epi on my body – in case my carry on had to be stored away from my seat. I switch it to a money belt after I go through security for this reason.

    I think the Mom is in the clear. She has a medical condition and they set it off.

    The TSA people need retraining regarding the we don’t separate children from their adults rule.

    The commenters need to get a life.

    I once (pre 9/11) told a stewardess she could have me arrested on landing but I was moving to be near my under 10 yo cousins. The incompetent gate person had assigned us seats on the exit row. I tried with 3 different people including the stewardess to correct the problem before take off. I was told it was fine until we were moving to take off – and she wisked them to seats at the rear of the plane. Even though there were seats around me empty.

    I wasn’t worried about other passengers harming them a few might have wanted to give the youngest a good smack on the bottom. I moved after the 2nd scream of terror from the older of the two in response to her brother telling her that something had just fallen off the plane and we were crashing. I didn’t figure the business people should have to deal with me dealing with their behavior from half a plane away.

  11. In my opinion, there is no such thing as overreacting to someone taking my baby away from me against my will. I don’t care if it’s airport security, CPS, or the tooth fairy, that’s totally unacceptable. I wouldn’t assume it had anything to do with pedophilic intentions, but I don’t care if they’re taking him away to give him superpowers, they have NO right to do so against my will.

  12. In this case, I have to disagree with you. There really is no security issue I can think of that requires you to take a small child – who is likely scared and upset, especially if they’re in the age of separation anxiety – away from their parents and not let their parents know where they are or when they’re coming back.

    The TSA has the burden of proof here – they need to show that all their petty little inconveniences and problems (we really need to be barefoot?) are actually helping security. It doesn’t matter *what* their intentions were with the kid – this is just another sign of them overstepping the bounds of common sense and basic courtesy.

  13. Most of the TSA workers I’ve encountered have ranged from bored to very friendly. However, I do remember one occasion when I set off the metal detector. The agent had me put everything containing metal (at that point, my hairclip and glasses) into a tray and walked away.

    Now, mind you, I am really nearsighted. So at that point I yelled, “Hold on! You cannot just walk away with someone’s glasses!” The agent said, “I have to inspect them,” and I said, “I have really bad vision, and I can’t tell where you’re going. And by the way, where is my carryon? Is it secure?” He said, “I can’t touch your carryon,” and I said, “Well, that’s not true, because when it gets inspected, you have to touch it and I’m not allowed to. I want to see a supervisor.”

    Who magically appeared. I pointed out that it was not acceptable to take people’s glasses and not make sure the person knows where the agent is going and that the passenger’s carryons are secure. The supervisor said, “Well, according to TSA regulations–”

    That’s as far as he got, because I said, “Really? You want to see TSA regulations go up against the Americans with Disabilities Act? Because I think that could be interesting!”

    Now, the ADA does not apply to me. But frankly, there’s no reason for me to believe that they wouldn’t do the same thing to someone with a disability. The result? I got my glasses back and made my plane on time.

    And that was just being separated from my glasses. I can’t imagine what a scene I’d make about being separated from my child.

  14. What WorkingMom and others said: NO WAY – NO WAY IN HELL – is anyone taking my baby away from me, out of my sight, for 10 minutes, for 5 minutes, for any amount of time. I’d call 911, the supervisor, whatever. It would NOT happen. You would have to arrest me and physically rip that child from my arms. Sorry. It’s not a free range issue, it’s not a molestation fear. A teenager? I’d feel differently. Heck, even my 9yo? Maybe. But my non-verbal 2 year old? UH-UH, NO WAY. That child wants me, and me only, and he is not going to be traumatized by some idiot schmuck on a power trip doing anything in the name of “national security.”

  15. also, Glen, thx for doing the research. I found it tough to believe this sort of thing was sanctioned.

  16. Nope. Sorry. There is no such thing as over-reacting to someone taking my baby, who cannot speak to tell me if something IS wrong, out of my sight for any reason. Period.

    I let my tween walk to school alone when we lived close enough that he could, I let him go down to the neighbor kid’s to play without letting me know where he was every second omg! I even let him go into public restrooms alone! The horror!

    You do NOT touch my baby. No. Way.

  17. Hey all, Noob here…
    Been lurking for a while, and I agree with most of what lskenazy posts. In this case, I have to disagree. There is one angle from which this situation has not been approached.

    When you boil it down, (and here’s the part where some of you will think I’m crazy) this is not a case of some random stranger separating an anxious mother from her infant.

    This boils down to a case of a Federal agent separating an anxious mother from her infant. That, to a lot more people than you think, is a very scary prospect.

    Not only that, but an agent from an agency which many consider to be the lowest common denominator when it comes to Federal agencies. They are, to be blunt, the Supercuts of the Federal government. One can barely trust them with one’s bags. Why on earth would one trust them with an infant?

    Frankly, I’d rather it was a random stranger.

    I know that sounds paranoid, but the libertarian in me started twitching when I read the article.

    I trust the government with certain things; taxes, the mail, national defense, etc.

    I do not trust them to take (even temporarily) my flesh and blood, particularly when that flesh and blood is a minor.

  18. With many of the other commenters, I’m appalled. There’s no earthly way it’s acceptable for a strange adult to take a toddler out of sight of his or her parent without that parent’s consent. Forget the mom, what a phenomenally unkind thing to do to the poor child. Unfamiliar (and unpleasant) location, and then taken away from mom with no warning and at that age little or no ability to communicate with caregivers? Yikes. Necessary had a medical emergency arisen, perhaps (mom had a heart attack walking to the concourse), but not acceptable otherwise.

    I flew recently and all the TSA agents I saw were very helpful and patient with my 2 y.o. son (and jet-lagged me). How unfortunate that others, like these, exist.

  19. Missing the point, I dislike TSA and for the most part feel most people can, if they wish, get almost anything through them into an airport if they take multiple trips. That said, in this case the mothers behaviour appears very suspicious and THAT is what they look for in the TSA lines. In her mind it even sounds like shaky behaviour and abnormal. I would love to see the tape of what occured, and hope we all do, to actually get to the bottom of this possible nefarious affair.

  20. Adding my voice to the chorus… Just because they are not child molesters and just because they have government badges does BOT make it ok to take an infant from his mother’s sight. When you are the mother of a BABY, not walking, not talking, it’s not only ok to be a bit “overprotecing” it’s a biological mandate. I would also be hystarical in that position.

  21. Whoa! Lenore, I just went and read the mother’s account. At NO point does she suggest that she thinks her son is or has been molested. She is freaking out because some asshole took her baby and walked away. Why make this into a molester fear case when that’s nowhere to be found?

  22. A follow up, look at the tape! http://www.tsa.gov/blog the child was NEVER taken away from her. This lady is delusional at best and a threat to her children if this is how she views events that go on around her!

  23. And note, from the time she walked through the metal detector till she was strolling away with all her belongings, NINE minutes. The child was always in her care either in her arms, on her lap or sitting in her stroller right in front of her.

  24. Wow, unbelievable. I’m speechless. Thanks for the link, seven.

  25. Damn. You’re right. Looks like we’ve been had. At one point when the camera switches scenes at 11:04:13, the new scene shows the time at 11:04:31, but that’s most likely due to a time discrepancy between the two cams.
    I still don’t like the TSA, but this lady’s lying her face off…

  26. I disagree about this not being entirely a free-range issue.

    I agree the TSA should never have taken the kid and I think the criticism of them in this thread and elsewhere is well founded. I would not have been accepting of them taking my infant out of my sight.

    But I think the real tragedy is the mother who reacts to bad situations in a way that is of no help to her or her child. It’s really sad, it must have been horrendous for her, and I think it has a lot to do with the way our culture scaremongers around stranger danger and parenting in general.

    I can’t see how the unreasonable expectations and the irrational fears that are thrown at us daily can be any good for someone with an anxiety disorder (or without come to that). We are lead to believe that only our constant oversight can keep our children safe; that terrible things *will* happen to them the minute they are out of our grasp; that no one else can be trusted. So it’s not surprising that people have difficulty responding in a situation where they have no physical power.

  27. HELEN, TSA NEVER EVER took the child from her arms nor from her lap!! EVER…..

  28. @sevenwhitehorses: According to the mom’s account they did – she estimates for about 10 minutes. I haven’t seen another account from someone who was there so I was going directly from the mother’s blog posting.

  29. @sevenwhitehorses: Sorry, I had missed your link to tsa site.

  30. LOL no problem, it is just SO frustrating that a flagrant lie, even if it is not in her mind, will now take the wind out of legitimate complaints. If she really perceived it as she wrote, her world must be difficult to live in. For those who have not seen the closedcircut feed of the event, http://www.tsa.gov/blog I would normally not be as critical of her but she professes to be a professional writer and if that is indeed true this is a flagrant lie and misrepresentation of the events and all the worse since a professional would have had to done it deliberately and maliciously.

  31. Shame on her for lying so blatantly!! Her child was never even out of her sight. Granted, I would have been PO’d having to stand around in a glass box too but that doesn’t give her the right to lie about the incident.
    But she did have over 300 comments to her blog so maybe that was the whole point of her sorry little story….

  32. looks like her panic attack followed her home when she blew the story out of proportion for her blog.

  33. The TSA has earned their disrespect and suspicion, in my opinion. If this had happened to me or my husband, I know we would raise holy hell. People need to stand up for their rights, and I believe it is our right as parents not to be separated from our very young children against our will under any circumstances.

  34. Why are we even discussing this – she totally fabricated this story! OMG it’s A WHITE VAN fabrication story.

    But she upped her blog traffic alright!

  35. Just before coming to this site I just took a peek at a site that had the same story, except claims to have proof that’s they weren’t separated at all, the woman was making it up. Don’t have the link, though. sorry =o(

  36. I can’t see the video, I’ll just have to take your word(s) for it. So I wonder what she was after? Just attention? Money? I wonder how she thought she forgot that an airport is littered with cameras…? Are we sure it’s the same lady? That’s just sort of beeilderingly strange…

  37. It looks to me from the video that the TSA employees severely annoyed her, she made a fuss, so they retaliated by putting her through the 3d degree. Some of these airport security personnel are from the resentful lower class and like to have their moment of power over obviously better off people who can afford to travel.

    Then, the unbalanced woman became more and more livid about the whole incident after a stressful time traveling with a toddler, made worse by a ridiculous search by airport security. She blew it all out of proportion and fabricated this story, it not even dawning on her that obviously they video tape these things.

  38. “Some of these airport security personnel are from the resentful lower class and like to have their moment of power over obviously better off people who can afford to travel.”

    Wow

    Classism

    Alive and well.

  39. Mud mama— You seriously don’t think that this doesn’t ever happen?

    Naivete is alive and well too I see… 🙄

  40. Megan,
    It wasn’t that the lady was saying her kid could have been molested, it was some of the commenters on her blog and on the Consumerist (http://consumerist.com/5383378/tsa-takes-baby-away-from-mother) where the story was first posted. One of the commentors went on and on about how much molesting an agent could do to an infant (especially if they were “in cahoots” with one another) in ten minutes.

  41. ““Some of these airport security personnel are from the resentful lower class and like to have their moment of power over obviously better off people who can afford to travel.”

    Wow

    Classism

    Alive and well.”

    Perhaps, but on whose part? The resenter or the resentee?

    There actually is a portion of the lower class that resents those who are well off. Just as there is a portion of the middle and upper class that resents having their money confiscated to pay for those who resent them for their wealth. It’s a non issue because there will always be both classism and class envy. It’s been this way ever since my monkey ancestor found more grubs than some other monkey. It’s naive to think otherwise. Idealism serves one only so far…
    I’ve no problem with giving to those in need. I just have a problem with forced altruism, and those who try to make me feel bad because I have more than they.
    That said, I don’t believe the TSA’s “Security Theatre” is based on class envy, but merely a case of those in charge giving too much power to lower level subordinates. It happens in business all the time.

    But that is neither here nor there…

    The lady lied her face off.

    I have no pity for her.

  42. The child should not have been removed from the parent in those circumstances. I am horrified by that report!

  43. […] Are TSA Employees Really Molesting Our Babies? Folks, this is one of those stories where I am appalled by both sides and, for good measure, by a lot of the reactions, […] […]

  44. Here, here!

  45. In case you are all interested, the mom has responded to the TSA post here: http://www.mybottlesup.com/my-apologies

  46. grossly inappropriate to take the baby, and i’d like to note that ‘molest’ doesn’t require that the intent or the action be sexual. it really just means to mess with inappropriately.

    on a personal note, i’d like to say that i cannot imagine – CANNOT imagine what i would do if they told me they were taking my baby/child somewhere without me.

  47. I’m confused about her supposed panic attack too. She doesn’t appear that agitated to me in the video. I’m sure she was running her mouth off but I would think a panic attack would have shown clearly in body language. She came off as annoyed to me. I cannot stand people that lie outright like she did. It makes it harder for people that report real problems.

    I also disagreed with Lenore before I saw the video. If they needed to search my child I would have agreed to be handcuffed and flanked by police officers but I would have been in that room. Absolutely no reason to separate me from my child to be searched. I feel that way about my 11 ands 9yo too. You better believe I’ll be there. (of course, it doesn’t matter in this case as the baby was patted down while sitting on mommy’s lap) This is a case that actually makes me glad for security cameras.

  48. If this is indeed a lie, there needs to be a blog post about someone duping a lot of well meaning people.

  49. http://sexoffenderissues.blogspot.com

    The moral panic and hysteria has been propagated by the media, politicians and people who do not know what they are talking about.

    Now, everyone sees sex offenders every where.

    They may even think, like in the “Night of the Living Dead” that sex offenders are out thirsting for kids to molest, which is all hysteria.

    I am afraid many people will be charged with bogus allegations, and may wind up ruined for life over something they did not do, like the 1980’s Day Care Sex Abuse scare and the Devil Worshipping scare propagated by Oprah, Geraldo and the like, to get ratings.

  50. If the baby was never taken away from her, this is just weird. Regarding the original post, though, at which point it was assumed that the baby WAS, in fact, taken away, I have to respectfully disagree. While I agree that “stranger danger” and fears about sexual predators are blown WAY out of proportion these days, I would be 100% on the mother’s side if this happened. Even without fears of molestation, I would be upset about my baby being taken away from me against my will. Not knowing what was happening, whether my k

  51. Regarding the original post, in which it was assumed that the baby WAS, if fact, taken away from his mom, I have to respectfully disagree.

    While I would not have assumed that the TSA agents had “nefarious” intentions, I WOULD have been worried that I didn’t know what was happening, that my child might be afraid or crying, knowing he would almost certainly be confused and wanting me… add to that the stress of travelling alone with a child (VERY stressful under any circumstances, trust me!) and concerns that we might miss our flight?

    Yeah, I’d freak out.

    This is a free-range issue in that people jump to conclusions about everyone wanting to molest children; I do not, however, think that a mom should be expected to be totally cool with random authority figures taking her baby away, especially under already stressful circumstances.

  52. Yes, I would be upset if someone took one of my children away from me at at an airport security check. No, the TSA should not do that (whether or not they did in this case). However, I doubt it would be reassuring to my children to have me “freaking out” as many people have suggested is the normal response. I would do my best to be calm and reassuring to my children, so that they were not any more scared by the incident than necessary.

  53. Mud mama— You seriously don’t think that this doesn’t ever happen?
    Naivete is alive and well too I see… 🙄

    I guess it is the difference between being American and Canadian. I’ve never ever witnessed or heard of people in high profile service jobs (like any security job) as a way to get back at people who have more money than they do. Maybe the difference is universal health care and a living minimum wage. I don’t know though if that is it. I live in an agricultural community surrounded by migrant farm workers and I’ve bever seen any reverse classism from them either.

  54. “In case you are all interested, the mom has responded to the TSA post here: http://www.mybottlesup.com/my-apologies“———————–

    I quickly read through the woman’s apologies as posted above. At least she admits that she is overly emotional. Her son hardly looked traumatized as she claims, and if she feels so traumatized by this experience, she really needs to get a grip, quit all this stupid narcissistic blogging, and go help out at a battered women’s shelter for a reality check.

  55. If you watch the video, you can see there is a cut between the time she’s in the plastic holding box and when she’s sitting in the chair waiting to be searched. There may also be a cut between the time she first goes through security and when she’s ordered into the holding box (she claims there is). The timer on the video does not appear to be a part of the original video and may or may not represent the actual time the events took place.

    I don’t know who to believe here, but I have zero respect for the TSA as an organization. The culture of TSA agent behavior seems to vary widely from airport to airport; at many airports — including the one I fly through most often, San Jose — the agents are friendly, helpful, and kind, but at some places they range from gruff to just plain nasty.

    So maybe the blogger is lying, or maybe the TSA is lying, or maybe they’re both misrepresenting. But whatever really happened, it’s apparent from the video that that blogger and her baby were treated with, at best, unkindness and incompetence by the TSA agents. To me, this is a free range issue only insofar as the absurd “security theater” system at our airports is a free range issue.

  56. Amen, Virginia!!!!

  57. I feel compelled to state that while I don’t believe TSA workers are going to molest children, what they did was an abuse of power and egregious. I hate flying. Since 2001, I have been stopped numerous times for further inspection (I have no idea why but I must be on some list). Most of the time I’ve been treated decently, but I can vouch for the fact that some agents need more training in the art of empathy.

    The mother does not claim in her blog post that she thought they were harming him. She describes her panicked reaction to being forced to give up her child. What she describes is an overreaction, but I really do feel for her. I would also feel panicked, if for no other reason than when you are in this situation — of being pressed for time to get a flight and just trying to get yourself, your child, and your stuff onto the plane — the last thing you need is to be hassled by “authorities” are at best, rude, and at worst, incompetent.

  58. Of course, I’ve now seen the TSA blog with the film and had time to read more comments, and I see that this incident was probably fabricated (or exaggerated). So I stand corrected that they acted egregiously, but I still think the TSA could do a better job with customer service.

  59. I think the problem for the workers is that the job is tedious, repetitive, fulfilling, and boring. They have no incentive to be courteous because it’s not a customer service job. Everyone is basically at their mercy. No one decides on their travel plan based on how courteous the security at the airport is.

    They have to pull a random amount of people for extra screening, and they have to pretend that soccer moms with babies are as potentially as dangerous as lone Middle Eastern men carry Korans and praying towards Mecca.

  60. That’s ‘unfulfilling’ I meant. The job is extremely unfulfilling. They can’t even make small talk with the ‘customers’. They have to act totally officious, plus they get paid peanuts.

  61. It look like this claim was fraudulent, but I wanted to reply on principle. Respecting the parents right to decide age appropriate freedoms is very different than expecting a parent to trust any stranger without warning to keep their toddler safe.

    What if your child is diabetic? Has a severe nut or other allergy? Has seizures? Is autistic and has severe tantrum and bites? What if your 18 month old puts everything in her mouth and you’ve already had her to the ER for the hairpin she swallowed at Grandma’s? What if the TSA agent in question seems visibly agitated or belligerent? Do you still think it’s a great idea for a TSA agent to stroll away with a child without permission of the parent?

    Actually, some molestation issue would be the last thing on my mind and it seems kinda like a straw man argument.

    The TSA has a policy that NO child will be separated from their parent. I can think of no good reason that TSA would need to separate the child from the parent. Let’s not go throwing our parental rights away in the interesting of being “trusting”.

  62. In reviewing the video provided by TSA, the child is checked while on his mother’s lap and then placed in his stroller while she is checked. This lady needs to get a grip and take more emergency Xanax if she is such a terrible customer. The only emotional state she looks to be in is pissed off.

    Flying sucks, TSA employees have a horrible job and are poorly managed, airlines in general don’t care if you have to take 2 hours to be searched between connecting flights but you know that going into it; that you are on their time, not yours. Get over it and get over yourself.

    If I were her husband and mother, I would be ticked if she called me about my son or grandson being “missing” in a total panic when really he is right there beside her. I feel for the poor kid and her poor husband.

    I have to agree with posts above that there is no way an employee of any organization is going to take my child from me with me there and in my right mind. If she had handled this better from the beginning and even if her story is true, she would have been able to clearly make known that her child was not to be removed from her sight. It’s people like this that take away credibility from real complaints against TSA and other customer-related industries.

    Get over yourself lady. I support TSA on this one.

  63. I had the same experience as the first commenter: my (then) not-quite-2-year-old running unrestrained up & down the concourse while they poked, prodded, & scanned every part of my body, including my pregnant belly–this was back in the days of the extended searches at the gate. they threatened to put me in jail as a terrorist if i went to get him while they were inspecting me. it was terrifying, and while i didn’t have a panic attack, i did write a vehemently angry letter when i got home.

    while TSA regs may state that they will not separate children from parents, i haven’t noticed them being very concerned about helping parents with the issue. since i ALWAYS get the extended search, my solution to that was that until my two kids were old enough to reliably stand next to the search area & wait, I tied them to me with cotton twine about 10 feet long so they could walk through the metal detector alone (in sock feet, pacis & toys & everything else on the belt) but still be within my sphere of control. it worked well.

  64. As a TSO I can tell you that it took months to complete my federal background. If there had been any hint of impropriety, I would not have been hired. This was followed by two weeks of classroom training and a month of OJT before I could work on my own. We are considered probationary for two years, and there is very little leniency if you make a bad error in judgment.

    We are closely monitored at the checkpoint by experienced supervisors and managers. We are also never allowed (taboo) to touch an opposite gender child in any way. I was chastised for just checking the hood on a baggy sweatshirt on a little girl when I first started.

    Now on to procedure. We never separate children from parents. I don’t know where this article came from, but it is simply not true. We go out of our way to accommodate families, even though sometimes it is admittedly difficult when parents are in a bad mood because their kids are crying, and they are taking large two part strollers, and bags and bags of supplies. There have been many times I have said something to parents when I have seen children standing on tables and rollers, or allowed to play with the rollers (fingers can get caught), or were simply not being watched properly because the parents were too busy with their “stuff”. Their child must stay with them by rule when they are screened if under 18.

    Please keep in mind, the terrorists have used their wives, their children, their physically challenged to carry bombs, and to blow themselves up. They have no conscience, and no scruples.

    We know we are not popular, and we endure a lot of abuse in doing a vital job for little money. I always say to people who give me a hard time, “What would be better? Do less? Do more? Do nothing at all?” I then follow that by wishing them a “safe flight”.

    What would happen if the TSA was not there? Just look at the record regarding attempts to blow up aircraft since 911. There is always a good reason for EVERYTHING we do. It is not arbitrary, even though it is admittedly a niusance.

  65. I have no kids, but there’s no way the TSA should take a child away from a parent. Actually, there’s no way the TSA should be molesting any of us the way it’s been doing the past few years.

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