Kids, TSA Airport Screenings and the Wrong Message

by Kimberly Kauer on November 17, 2010

Tickets for our next family flight haven’t been purchased, but I’m already concerned. We talk to our kids about safety and about not letting people touch or see your private parts, but as all parents know, actions speak louder than words, and our safety message will be quashed when we walk through airport security before boarding our next flight. How can we tell kids that it’s not okay for a person to touch their private parts, then let a total stranger do that in front of a crowd of people? Our message has been touch that makes you feel uncomfortable is bad, yet airport screenings are absolutely uncomfortable. The alternative to this is to let these strangers take a naked picture of you, which is equally violating.

We are all being put into the role of the powerless child unable to stop the unwelcome touching. This violation will not make us safer – terrorists have long moved on from the underwear bomber and are now using UPS. Unexamined packages are being loaded onto the bellies of planes as part of worldwide shipping channels, yet Americans are having their crotches padded down and nail clippers confiscated in the name of safety. Something is seriously amiss here. TSA can check every nook and cranny of the people on the plane, while an explosive was simply mailed on board for the cost of postage. The internet is rightfully applauding the man who refused the screening recently, which is pleasantly termed a “pat down,” as if it’s the three second waist and leg pat received by concert-goers upon entering a venue. Now drunk guys stepping over the line can say, “I didn’t grope her, I gave her a ‘pat down.’ For security.”

I cannot imagine how I would have handled a situation where my child was subject to review. The options are molestation or child porn.

TSA already didn’t like kids. Getting through airport security was hard with a child before these new procedures went into effect. Shoes need to be removed, kid gear like strollers need to be broken down and loaded onto the conveyor belt, walking through the metal detector one at a time without hand holding, making sure little ones don’t wander off if an adult needs additional screening, then getting everyone’s shoes back on to leave the area to buy the kids expensive airport-priced drinks because liquids over three ounces can’t get through security. It sucked, but we did it in the name of safety. TSA claims they will never separate parent and child, but by that, they must mean they won’t ever take a parent or child into another room while the other stays outside because kids are constantly walking off while a parent gets detained (even briefly) for an additional review. One of my kids was once waved through the metal detector, but then another passenger was waved ahead in front of me (two lanes were merging into one, yet it was clear I was with the child), but there was a problem with the machine or the woman, and the line was stopped while my daughter kept walking on, unaware I wasn’t with her. The TSA agent didn’t care. It’s not their job to care.

But now we’re going to say it’s okay to have this strange person take them aside to touch their private parts? This should be illegal. It is a violation of personal rights, and it is not okay.

{ 5 comments }

Lisa November 17, 2010 at 1:03 pm

We just bought tickets for the flight back east for the holidays and I’m sick to my stomach about this. Thank you for this post. Either option is totally unacceptable, but right now, I’m thinking the radiation is the lesser of 2 evils for my children. I can’t subject them (6 yr old boy & 8 yr old girl) to the intimate touching by a stranger the pat down requires. It’s completely wrong. And humiliating for a child. And counter to everything we’re teaching them.

Jessica R. November 17, 2010 at 2:06 pm

I’m glad people are finally speaking up about what they are and aren’t comfortable doing.
For the longest time traveler’s have just dealt as more and more impositions are handed down in the name of “safety.” Enough already! What’s next? Completely stripping in public? It’s bad enough people are walking around barefoot.

I’m also horrified that they let your daughter walk on without you. I would have been frantic!

limewire info November 22, 2010 at 8:00 pm

ah

matt November 30, 2010 at 11:37 pm

makes me want to drink alchoholic beverages

Billi Parido December 29, 2010 at 6:46 pm

Most of the times i visit a blog i get disappointed. On the contrary,I have to say that you have done a good job here.

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