WASHINGTON (CBSDC) — The Transportation Security Administration is once again the subject of national scrutiny, this time after aggressively screening a 7-year-old female passenger with cerebral palsy which caused her family to miss their flight.
The girl, identified as Dina Frank in a report by The Daily, was waiting with her family on Monday to board a flight departing from John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York headed to Florida.
Since Dina walks with the aid of leg braces and crutches, she cannot pass through airport metal detectors, and must instead submit to a pat-down by TSA agents.
Dina, who is also reportedly developmentally disabled, is usually frightened by the procedure. Her family reportedly requests that agents on hand take the time to introduce themselves to her.
However, the agents on duty at the time began to handle her aggressively instead.
Air travel is difficult to the family due to Dina’s disabilities, but the nature of Monday’s inspection was especially traumatic for the child.
“They make our lives completely difficult,” her father, Dr. Joshua Frank, a Long Island pediatrician, told The Daily. “She’s not a threat to national security.”
Frank taped the encounter, which ended when a supervisor inspected her crutches and let them pass. But agents followed up and insisted upon doing a full inspection of Dina.
Ultimately, the family missed their flight.
“They’re harassing people. This is totally misguided policy,” Frank told The Daily. “Yes, I understand that TSA is in charge of national security and there’s all these threats. [But] for her to be singled out, it’s crazy.”
Dina, from Long Island, had recently experienced triumph after Botox and phenol injections helped her to gain control of her legs, enough to take several unassisted steps.
After being born prematurely and suffering from bleeding in the brain, Dina struggled for years to get around, even enduring a double hip replacement to assist in her recovery, CBS New York reported.
UPDATE: The TSA issued a statement defending their decision to pat-down the girl.
“TSA has reviewed the incident and determined that our officers followed proper screening procedures in conducting a modified pat-down on the child,” the agency said.