A 10-year-old girl received a pat-down in a North Carolina airport after she left a Capri Sun juice pouch in her bag, according to her father, who filmed the incident and posted footage on YouTube.
But a TSA spokesman said that the pat-down followed agency guidelines.
“TSA screening procedures allow for the pat down of a child under certain circumstances,” the spokesman said in a statement. “The process by which the child was patted down followed approved procedures.”
The footage, which has now received wide media attention, shows an agent calmly frisking the girl, who is holding her arms out to the side. Her father films from the other side of a glass partition. Payne annotated the clip, describing the pat down it as invasive, a “heinous act” that “makes me sick to my stomach.”
“She just had a completely blank stare on her face,” Payne told NBC’s Today show. “I could tell it was very uncomfortable for her.”
Payne told ABC’s “Good Morning America” that he plans to file a formal complaint.
The TSA has procedures for children to avoid the likelihood that they will be patted down.
The agency also noted that during this particular encounter, a parent observed the pat-down, which lasted about two minutes and was conducted by a female officer. An alarm on a cellphone inside the child’s bag also went off, prompting additional protocol, according to the agency.
This isn’t the first time a TSA pat-down of a child has prompted national scrutiny. In 2011, Selena Drexel’s 6-year-old daughter was patted down by a TSA agent in a New Orleans airport, which contributed to the TSA and its leading congressional critic vowing to review how young child are screened.
Later that year, the agency announced changes to how it screens child passengers, including allowing those under 13 to keep their shoes on and swabbing their hands for explosive residue as an alternative to patting them down.