Outrage as 6-year-old is frisked and drug tested at US airport
Outrage in US as six-year-old girl is frisked at airport
The parents of a six-year-old girl who got an "intensive" pat-down at a New Orleans airport security checkpoint earlier this month have called for different security screening procedures for children.
Selena Drexel with the video showing her 6-year-old daughter Anna getting friskedPhoto: AP
7:00AM BST 14 Apr 2011
Dr Todd and Selena Drexel said that daughter Anna was confused by the security procedure, a video of which has been widely viewed since the family posted it on YouTube.
"Afterward, she broke down with crying, because she really didn't understand what she had done wrong," Todd Drexel said on Good Morning America. "We were struggling to explain it to her, because we had really stressed to her that it's not OK to be touched in certain places, and now she's been pat down in a public setting."
A spokesman for the Transportation Security Administration, which is responsible for screening passengers and cargo at airports, said that the search was in line with established procedures.
"TSA has reviewed the incident and determined that this officer followed proper current screening procedures," agency spokesman Jim Fotenos said in a statement.
He said that TSA Administrator John Pistole had directed the agency to explore "additional ways to focus its resources and move beyond a one-size fits all system while maintaining a high level of security."
Mr Fotenos said TSA has been reviewing its policies in an effort "to streamline and improve the screening experience for low-risk populations, such as younger passengers."
The YouTube video shows Annaand Selena Drexel at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport on April 5. A female TSA screener asks Anna to stand near her mother with her arms extended and does a patdown search similar to those routinely performed on adult travellers.
The screener runs her gloved hands along both sides of the Anna's head and along each arm; along the sides, front and back of the girl's torso, hips and thighs, and runs both hands along each leg from crotch to foot. The screener also slides her fingers along the inside of the neckline and waistband of the girl's shirt and jeans, explaining each step of the search as she goes.
A spokeswoman for the New Orleans airport declined to comment on the incident, referring questions to the TSA.
Selena Drexel said on Good Morning America that the family was heading home from a vacation, travelling with Anna as well as their two other daughters, ages 9 and 2. She said Anna was selected for a patdown, and that she asked that her daughter be rescanned instead but that her request was denied.
"They just said they were going to do what they were going to do," Selena Drexel said.
Asked why she posted a video of the incident on YouTube, Selena Drexel said that she wanted other people to see it so that she could get others' opinions about it.
"We felt that it was inappropriate," she said. "We struggle to teach our children to protect themselves, and to say 'no' and 'it's not OK for folks to touch me in those areas,' and here we are saying it's OK for these people."