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Texas mom filmed ‘traumatizing’ TSA pat-down of disabled son

Jennifer Williamson and her son Aaron were at the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport Sunday to board a flight. Williamson claims Aaron, who has a disability, was unfairly subjected to a lengthy pat-down because she asked he be checked in some other way.

Aaron suffers from Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). SPD is a neurological condition causing sensations a sufferer feels to be improperly registered or processed. People who have SPD can feel discomfort when they are touched and being touched can also lead to anxiety.

Williamson told TSA officials about her son’s condition and asked he be screened in a different way. TSA rules allow people to request to be screened in a way that does not involve a pat-down and in her Facebook post, she wrote they were “treated like dogs” because of her request. She complained her son was subjected to an “excessive pat-down” that included his genital area.

Williamson also wrote she and Aaron were kept more than an hour and ended up missing their flight. She noted her son did not set off any alarms or do anything that could be perceived as a threat. Williamson said hours later her son was still anxious and wondering what he did wrong. She described what was done to her disabled son as “horrifying” and “traumatizing.” The woman wants these TSA agents to be “reigned in.”

Response of the TSA

The TSA responded to Williamson’s accusations in a blog post. The TSA stated the pair were kept 45 minutes, not an hour, and much of that time was spent explaining the procedure to Williamson. The pat-down itself took about two minutes.

The agency said Aaron had a laptop that set off a reaction to a machine that detects traces of explosives. The TSA justified the pat-down by saying they have a duty to keep passengers safe and children have been recruited to carry out attacks. The TSA also noted the agent who conducted the pat-down was observed by his supervisor at all times. And two police officers were also present during the entire pat-down. The TSA added the police were there to quell Williamson’s fears.

The Facebook video has been viewed more than five million times.

READ ALSO: Passengers at U.S. airports face more rigorous ‘pat-downs’

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