Video showing toddler's airport pat-down goes viral

MeMe - Raises Her Hand (-_-) (Mommy Of A Toddler And Teen) - posted on 03/21/2012 ( 16 moms have responded )

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A video shot in 2010 showing a 3-year-old boy receiving a pat-down from a TSA agent went viral today. The toddler was wearing a cast and sitting in a wheelchair.



In an annotated videotape of the incident posted March 17 on YouTube, the father is heard reassuring his son, whom he calls “Rocco,” while a TSA officer is seen patting down the squirming boy and taking swabs of the chair and the cast. After asking the parents to lift the boy’s shirt and offering them the option of going to a private screening area, the officer is also shown swabbing the boy’s back.



The video has been viewed more than 81,000 times.

http://todaytravel.today.msnbc.msn.com/_...



Before conducting the check at the Chicago Midway Airport, the TSA officer tries to reassure the boy by asking what he likes — “Tigers? Animals?” — and then asks the boy to sit up. During the inspection he also tells the parents what he is doing and tells Rocco that he’s a good boy.



Comments added to the video by his father, said, “I was told I could NOT touch him or come near him during this process. Instead we had to pretend this was 'OK' so he didn’t panic.”



Reached Monday morning by TODAY.com, the boy's father, Matt DuBiel, said the video was made in spring 2010 during a family trip to Disney World.



“We had a baby five weeks ago, and I was looking at some old family videos on Saturday night, and I got incensed and emotional watching it.”



DuBiel says he posted it on YouTube to share it with family members who have heard him talk about the incident but who hadn’t seen the video.



Noting that the incident took place more than a year ago, TSA, in a statement, said: "Due to the fact that this passenger was traveling in a wheelchair and had a cast he would have been unable to pass through the walk-through metal detector or imaging technology and therefore received alternative screening, a pat-down and use of explosives trace detection."



“It doesn’t matter when it was,” said DuBiel. “That’s the TSA and that is my son. And he is wearing a body cast. The TSA agent did the best he could with a ridiculous situation, but someone should have stepped in and said, ‘That’s enough.’ " He said he didn't make a fuss at the time because he was worried about getting the whole family through security. The family was traveling to Disney World.



“At the time, they didn’t have the rules in place for children that they have now. But, regardless of the new or old rules, my position is that it’s unacceptable to treat a toddler this way.”



Last fall, the TSA revised its rules for children 12 and under, saying they no longer have to remove their shoes at security checkpoints. The agency’s policy for Children with Disabilities states that “if your child is unable to walk or stand, the Security Officer will conduct a pat-down search of your child while he/she remains in their mobility aid, as well as a visual and physical inspection of their equipment.”



"While recognizing that terrorists are willing to manipulate societal norms to evade detection, our officers continue to work with parents to ensure a respectful screening process for the entire family at the checkpoint," TSA said Monday.




I think it was over-kill. The poor boy is obviously concerned or anxious of what is happening. I agree with the father, that someone should have stepped in and said "enough is enough".



Although, on the other hand, I understand the need to be thorough too. You can't go by what someone looks like anymore, for whether they are "good" or not. However, there is no need to go to the extreme.



It's a hard one for me... I really dunno what I would have done or said.



Thoughts? Do you think it is ethical for them to go this far with a 3 year old? Or would you as a parent had raised a bit of concern and questioned why such an intense search? Then again, if you questioned it, they may think there was something up...

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Kate CP - posted on 03/23/2012

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Searching a bag, being wanded (metal detector wand) or going through a metal detector are okay to me. I'm FINE with that if the agents actually did a good enough job. But these x-ray machines that show you people's genitals and we don't know the health effects of it is beyond ridiculous. Pat downs on kids is also beyond ridiculous. Saying I can't bring a tube of frickin' toothpaste on a plane is also beyond ridiculous.



You know all those attempted terrorist actions that were thwarted? Yea...they all happened AFTER they got through security and were on the fuckin' plane. TSA is nothing but a gimmick. They go through the motions (poorly) and say "See? Don't you feel safe now that we've groped your kids, seen your wife naked, and denied your right to bring expressed breast milk onto a plane?"



9/11 worked, folks. The goal was to terrorize us...and it did.

Lady Heather - posted on 03/23/2012

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I don't have a problem with the searching per se, but more that according to the text the parent couldn't be near the child. I would want to hold my daughter's hand and I really don't see what harm that would do. It woulda tidally help because she'd be less likely to resist everything or cry. We need to be safe but we also need to be understanding. I don't if this kid was scared but some kids are more shy than others and definitely would be.

Amanda - posted on 03/23/2012

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Real casts are tight fitting, but fake ones I am sure aren’t. They are taking swabs I am sure to make sure there’s no bio chemical on the chair, or cast.



Like I already said, no big deal. Safety first. I don’t understand being upset. If airport wanted to check out my kids, I would allow it, and just tell my kids this is what they do to make sure we are all safe.



I always find it funny when people expect safety but not willing to be a tad inconvenienced for it.



I wonder what everyone would be saying if this child wasnt checked and his parents were using him to take down a plane?

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Tracey - posted on 03/25/2012

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If it was such a bad experience why didn't the parents complain after their holiday, why wait 2 years until they rewatched the video and then get upset.



Don't know if it is possible but could someone invent a wheelchair that people can sit on to go through the scanners while their chair is checked?

MeMe - Raises Her Hand (-_-) (Mommy Of A Toddler And Teen) - posted on 03/24/2012

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Kate---



I agree with you 100%. I haven't heard one news story where they actually caught a scumbag that was a terrorist! It's always AFTER they were checked and already on the plane that it becomes known. You know, when they stand up pull their weapon and declare this is a high jacking...

Sherri - posted on 03/23/2012

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The kid looked positively fine. He wasn't crying, whining he was speaking normally. The TSA officer was so kind to the little boy. The only problem that I have with this entire thing was the fathers blurbs coming up on it. He simply blew everything out of proportion for positively zero reason what so ever.

MeMe - Raises Her Hand (-_-) (Mommy Of A Toddler And Teen) - posted on 03/23/2012

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I completely agree with being searched. I do not agree with not being able to touch your kid or the period of time it took them to do this.



I think it was overboard. It was a tad too much. However, of course they need to search EVERYONE. I think 5 mins is a bit too long.... ;) Maybe they should have wands that you move up and down, to check like they would have if he could go through the x-ray, I mean no one else there was getting "swabed". I have never been "swabed".. WTF?



With today's technology, I am sure they can come up with something MUCH better. ;)

MeMe - Raises Her Hand (-_-) (Mommy Of A Toddler And Teen) - posted on 03/23/2012

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A bomb in a cast? hmmmm... Highly doubtful. Cast's are pretty tight fitting.... Besides they were taking swabs of his back and his wheel chair. What's up with that?

Amanda - posted on 03/23/2012

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Confused look.... This kid doesnt look scared, he just looks confused. I dont see what the big deal is, the father is making the kid more scared then the actual process. Sometimes parents are the problem not the people trying to keep everyone safe. Id much rather see these people doing their job (which they are), then allowing bombs onto the planes I am riding.

Kate CP - posted on 03/22/2012

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I notice my video didn't load. Stupid intarwebz. :P



I didn't have a problem going through security with my kids the last time we flew. TSA was actually really accommodating and let us through the line first. No one got patted down, no one got strip searched, and no one had to go through those weird x-ray machines.



That being said, I don't think this is helping at all either. TSA has NEVER caught anything before getting on a plane. They even let handguns go through. If the terrorists are sexy young people with hot bods then we'll all be safe because THEY get screened like no body's business. But if a terrorist is a fat white guy, or a plain looking woman they'll get right through. It's horrible and it doesn't work. I will NEVER let myself or my kids go through one of those x-ray machines. And I'm VERY apprehensive about letting them be patted down. There's no reason for it! It's invasive and scary for kids to be touched like that by people they don't know. And it goes against EVERYTHING we teach them about bad touching. The whole thing pisses me off. If I could travel without having to fly then I would. But, sadly, vacationing over sees or seeing my family in Michigan (I live in Texas) requires either a flight or several thousand miles by boat or car. Neither of which is a comforting thought with a 1 year old and a 6 year old. :/

Lady Heather - posted on 03/21/2012

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I'm not going to watch because I don't like seeing kids scared. From the sounds of it I would probably cry if I saw my daughter go through this. There is no way she could handle having some strange adult do that without me holding her. I think I'd cancel the trip if that was required tbh. Glad things aren't that bad here yet.

Janice - posted on 03/21/2012

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Idk, I think that its important that everyone is checked with out exception because unfortunately you just never know. However, if it were my kid I would be really pissed that I couldn't hold their hand and reassure them.

Sally - posted on 03/21/2012

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its not nice but its sad to say that in this day and age, its safety. I wouldn't like it but would except that they were doing their job.

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I felt so bad for that kid -- he looked so scared. He had the same look on his face my son gets before he bursts into tears.

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