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08 November 2009

TSA Violates Own Policy by Separating a Mother and Child

A recent article from the blog discusses an October 15, 2009 incident where the TSA violated its own policies and separated a mother and child during the screening process. The TSA's web site claims that they "will not ask you to do anything that will separate you from your child or children.", but in in the case of one woman at Atlanta's Hartsfield Airport, that was clearly not the case.

According to the article, after metal in the child's metal pacifier clip set off the metal detectors, mother and child had to wait further screening by the TSA. During that process, one of the agents took the child away from the mother.

For the full story, please read the full article. If you ever have this kind of problem with the TSA, you should do three things:

1. Get through the situation as best as possible with your dignity and sanity intact. If you can, contact a supervisor to help you resolve the issue.

2. Take the time to document the event as well as possible, including the names of the TSA agents involved, a description of what screening area you were in (many airports have more than one), and the time and date it occurred.

3. File a formal complaint with the TSA. There is no clear complaint process for this kind of situation, but you could try filing a discrimination related complaint, or TSA's generic online complaint form. In any case, make sure you keep a copy of anything you submit.

Recommended Resources:
Child Safety in the Air
Top 10 Tips for Traveling with Children

Your Comments Wanted
Do you have any suggestions for parents, or for the TSA? How about sharing your opinion about the TSA's policies? Feel free to leave your comments.

UPDATE: 9 November 2009
Our thanks go out to Ksenia Coffman who pointed out that the TSA has discussed this same incident in their blog. If you go to the TSA blog for 16 October 2009, you will find an variety of information, including multiple video recordings of the event. We invite you to review both blog posts, and to come to your own conclusions as to what happened in Atlanta.

No matter how this matter is finally resolved, the points mentioned earlier in this article are still valid. If you experience what you think is unfair or unlawful treatment at the hands of the TSA, take the time to carefully document what happened and to take appropriate steps afterwards, from filing formal complaints, to taking legal actions, to publicizing your experience. As this event shows, anything that is in the vicinity of a TSA screening area may be recorded and may become public later.


  1. This story was debunked with video evidence on the TSA blog ( almost the same day as it was published by the blogger; I'm surprised you picked it up after a month. I'm not affiliated with TSA, but it's not cool to see a gov agency blamed for something they did not do. I suggest you update your post with the correction.

  2. John Pistole should change his name to John PERVERT! The rubber stamp man from FBI is now the YES man for every pathetic idea….. Why.. because he is a “blank” kisser and coward that does not think for him himself ….but only about himself. The YES man for the pathetic fool Mueller is now in a real quagmire. John, a few questions for you:
    1. What is your policy on having the openly gay homosexual employees touching the private areas of heterosexual passengers?? Did you think about it? Probably not! Well I don’t want my wife felt up by a lesbian and neither does she. Get ready for the lawsuit when it happens.

    2. How many hours of training did you give your employees about touching passengers with medical conditions? NONE !! Get ready for the lawsuits.

    3. Has anyone calculated the amount of money the airlines and it’s industry is now going to loose because of this poorly thought out plan? No!! They are struggling to survive right now.. this will cause them to loose Millions!!

    4. If your position is just under a cabinet level position, why haven’t you met with the President?

    5. I know you are too much of a coward to resign.. so we all must wait for you to be FIRED!!

  3. My tribute to TSA (copy and paste into your browser):

    Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!