The Transportation Security Administration is under fire after a video of officers singling out a disabled girl went viral. A Missouri couple was headed to Disney World with their daughter, who is confined to a wheelchair, when TSA officers at the Lambert-St. Louis International Airport singled them out. Annie Frock videotaped the incident, which has since gone viral after being posted on YouTube.
The TSA retained the family after they had already been cleared through security. Little Lucy’s hot pink wheelchair had already been inspected, and the family was nearing the gate to board their plane. Nathan and Annie Frock were also traveling with two of their other daughters.
Lucy, who has Spina bifida, was singled out because of her wheelchair. TSA agents allegedly told the family that they had to swab the wheelchair and give Lucy a pat-down. They took her baby “Lamby” away from her, and the little girl burst into tears. Annie decided to being filming.
The February 9 incident, recorded in the video, shows little Lucy sobbing for her Lamby, even saying “I don’t want to go to Disney World!” as her mother argues with TSA agents. When Annie insists that no one will pat-down her daughter without her filming, the agents reply that it’s illegal for her to film the search.
Nathan Frock, who is an attorney, claims that he knows enough to the law to know that the TSA agents were in the wrong.
“They specifically told me that they were singling her out for this special treatment because she’s in a wheelchair,” he told Fox News. “They are specifically singling out disabled people for this special scrutiny. It’s rather offensive to me as a father of a disabled child.”
Annie can be heard in the video stating, “You can’t touch my daughter unless I record it.”
“It’s your worst nightmare,” Forck said. “It’s bad enough they are demanding they want to pat down my child and didn’t want me to videotape it.”
The couple alleges that they wanted to comply with all safety regulations, and did not want to make a scene. But when Lucy was singled out — and when the agents didn’t want Annie filming — Nathan asserted that he became uncomfortable.
“That set off alarm bells,” he said.
At some point the agents confiscated Lucy’s stuffed toy, “Lamby” – reducing the child to tears.
“She was crying for her stuffed animal which they wouldn’t let her have for the longest time,” he said. “It’s only about a half foot long. It’s a lamb down that talks – but she loves it.”
While her parents tried to reassure the little girl, she is seen in the video sobbing while TSA agents try to decide what to do.
Ultimately, Lucy was not patted down. Instead, her parents held her (and Lamby) while her wheelchair was searched for a second time.
“TSA regrets inaccurate guidance was provided to this family during screening and offers its apology,” a TSA spokesman toldFox News, adding that it is acceptable for passengers to film TSA procedures as long as the screening process is not interfered with.
Nathan is still concerned over the matter.
“Just because you slap a TSA badge on – I don’t know this person – and they’re going to be putting their hands on my child,” he said. He added that if someone had done that outside the airport, they would be in jail.
“But you put a TSA badge on and now all of a sudden it’s okay,” he said.
“It was very stressful, of course,” Nathan Forck added. “We were on our way to Disney World. We are not rich people by any means. This was something we had saved for and here we are in line — the plane is leaving in thirty minutes…and we are being treated like criminals.”
The family’s three other daughters are 2, 4, and 11. The 2-year-old was not along for the trip, but the other two witnessed the entire scene.
Do you think that the TSA treated this little girl unfairly?