A Missoula, Montana mother is furious with the TSA for subjecting her 4-year-old daughter to a full-body pat-down over a hug she received from her grandmother.
Little Izzy had already gone through the security scanner without incident when her grandmother triggered the alarm and was told she would need to submit to a pat-down.
"When my Four-year-old daughter noticed her Grandmother, she excitedly ran over to give her a hug, as children often do," Michelle Brademeyer wrote in a lengthy Facebook post detailing the ordeal. "They made very brief contact, no longer than a few seconds. The Transportation Security Officers(TSO) who were present responded to this very simple action in the worst way imaginable."
According to Brademeyer, a TSO "began yelling" at Izzy and ordered her to wait for a pat-down. She was prevented from approaching her mother, and told to "come to them, alone, and spread her arms and legs." Frightened, Izzy screamed "I don't want to" and bolted. She was returned to the security area, but not before a TSO threatened to shut down the airport and cancel all flights if Izzy was not restrained.
Brademeyer says she eventually disregarded the security agents' directive, and ran to comfort her daughter who was by then "shaking and crying uncontrollably."
While the pat-down was being administered, Izzy, who "did not want to stand still and let strangers touch her," was ordered by a TSO to stop crying.
When my scared child could not do so, two TSOs called for backup saying "The suspect is not cooperating." The suspect, of course, being a frightened child. They treated my daughter no better than if she had been a terrorist.
Brademeyer claims she was told by the TSOs that they could not properly pat her daughter down while she is crying. That's when, she says, "I lost my temper."
Finding nothing, the security agents finally released the family, but kept a close eye on them until they boarded the plane.
A TSA rep told Consumerist that the need for a physical pat-down arose when the child came into contract "with another member of her family who had not completed the screening process." As for the conduct of the TSOs involved, the "TSA has reviewed the incident and determined that our officers followed proper current screening procedures."