Recently, I read an article that really got my attention. John Stonestreet, who writes for the Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview, relayed a personal story that happened to his daughter when they were flying home from a conference.
Mr. Stonestreet told the story of how his 13-year-old daughter was randomly selected for additional TSA screening. She did not set off the metal detector. The TSA agent informed his daughter that she would being doing a “waist to thigh pat down.” Mr. Stonestreet points out that TSA policy language for this procedure is to “search up the leg until they meet resistance.”
He goes on to say he told the agent that he would not allow her to do this to his daughter, who was a minor. It was then that he learned only children 12 and under are exempt from this pat down – something that in other settings would be considered sexual misconduct.
Mr. Stonestreet wrote, “There’s no other situation in which we divide kids and adults at age 13. And especially now, in the #MeToo era, this is done and let me emphasize without cause. So, based on a random selection by a random machine, the TSA can touch minors – and I’m using their words here – on ‘the groins, the buttocks, and the breasts.’”
When Mr. Stonestreet asked to see a supervisor, the agent offered that he could take his daughter’s place, which he did. His daughter thanked him. Mr. Stonestreet says, “It’s a huge deal when anyone, but especially minors, are inappropriately touched without cause.”
This article hit home to me as a survivor of child abuse and having counseled many others with a history of child abuse. If a child already is battling abuse issues, these pat downs can send one more message to these kids telling them their bodies are not sacred and not to be protected. Thank you, Mr. Stonestreet, for sharing your story so we can be prepared and think about how we might act in a similar situation.