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UNDERNEWS

Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who covered Washington during all or part of ten of America's presidencies and who has edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review, which has been on the web since 1995, is now published from Freeport, Maine. We get over 5 million article visits a year. See prorev.com for full contents of our site

February 16, 2010

HOMELAND INSECURITY: FOUR YEAR OLD MADE TO REMOVE LEG BRACES

Daniel Rubin, Philadelphia Inquirer - Did you hear about the Camden cop whose disabled son wasn't allowed to pass through airport security unless he took off his leg braces?

Unfortunately, it's no joke. This happened to Bob Thomas, a 53-year-old officer in Camden's emergency crime suppression team, who was flying to Orlando in March with his wife, Leona, and their son, Ryan.

Ryan was taking his first flight, to Walt Disney World, for his fourth birthday.

The boy is developmentally delayed, one of the effects of being born 16 weeks prematurely. His ankles are malformed and his legs have low muscle tone. In March he was just starting to walk.

Mid-morning on March 19, his parents wheeled his stroller to the TSA security point, a couple of hours before their Southwest Airlines flight was to depart.

The boy's father broke down the stroller and put it on the conveyor belt as Leona Thomas walked Ryan through the metal detector.

The alarm went off.

The screener told them to take off the boy's braces.

The Thomases were dumbfounded. "I told them he can't walk without them on his own," Bob Thomas said.

"He said, 'He'll need to take them off.' "

Ryan's mother offered to walk him through the detector after they removed the braces, which are custom-made of metal and hardened plastic.

No, the screener replied. The boy had to walk on his own.

Leona Thomas said she was calm. Bob Thomas said he was starting to burn.

They complied, and Leona went first, followed by Ryan, followed by Bob, so the boy wouldn't be hurt if he fell. Ryan made it through...

On Friday, TSA spokeswoman Ann Davis said the boy never should have been told to remove his braces.

TSA policy should have allowed the parents to help the boy to a private screening area where he could have been swabbed for traces of explosive materials.



1 Comments:

Anonymous robbie said...

Un-frakking-believable. Utterly stupid. There's zero tolerance then there's zero sense.

February 16, 2010 4:15 PM  

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