Napolitano: TSA To Back Off Screening Children Under 12 At Airports

News Welcome To Some, But Many Others Not So Hot On The Idea

NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — You’ve seen the videos. Pat-downs of children have led to a nationwide debate on security screening at airports.

WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell On The Story

Now, as CBS 2’s Christine Sloan reports, the government is changing the rules for kids.

A video on YouTube has upset many parents. It shows a 6-year-old girl who appears to be uncomfortable, getting a pat down by a Transportation Security Administration worker.

The kinds of pat-downs could soon come to an end for children under 12.

“So these improvements are underway, but I would caution, senator, that when you say do it in a month, we need to move on a deliberate pace, but a careful pace,” Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said.

Napolitano also told senators on Tuesday she wants to end the practice of kids under 12 taking off their shoes at security checkpoints. One father at Newark Liberty International Airport told Sloan it’s about time.

“That’s a good thing,” he said.

“I think it’s great. I don’t think kids should be patted down like that,” said Lauren Spahr of Yardly, Pa.

But the majority of parents we talked to at Newark said they are worried.

“People do use their children to smuggle things in and out,” said traveler Earlica Smith of Florida

So are other passengers.

“It’s probably better to check everyone out, obviously. Anyone could be strapped with explosives. It happens in countries where the terrorists come from,” said Ricky Isaacs of the United Kingdom.

One 12-year-old and her mom, a retired NYPD officer who was on duty when terrorists attacked the World Trade Center, said they would rather be safe on the plane than feel uncomfortable for a few minutes.

“The kids are innocent but they could be hiding weapons for their parents,” Jamie Kavanagh said.

“I don’t see anything wrong with patting down children under 12. It’s a professional thing to do. Also, it’s in a very public environment,” added Callum McLennan.

The government hopes to implement the changes in the coming months. Napolitano said the TSA will roll out the changes gradually and screeners will need additional training.

What do you think? Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below.

More from Christine Sloan
  • Steve Scanner

    The fact is: The TSA is unnecessary. The entire security theatre is not needed. The TSA is here because too many scared people demand its atrocities in the name of “safety.”

    How “safe” are you, really? These vermin scour through your private belongings and steal. These perverts look at your bodies and then touch you where you do not like.

    If they were kindergarten teachers they would be arrested for the same things.

    The entire “war on terror” is all by design. Look at reality. You can go to the theatre, the mall, a basketball game, walk down the street, enter most private buildings, go into jewelry stores and banks. One can access 99.9999% of the places on earth without EVER having to be groped and scanned and yet, where are all those “terror attacks?”

    A “real terrorist” would have a field day at many of the places mentioned. If their goal is fear and damage, one or two suitcases on a Saturday at the local shopping mall would be more “effective.”

    So, those of you who do not have a problem with the scanners and groping, why not demand your local supermarket install those devices because you never know, that person with the cart of groceries may be a suicide bomber.

  • michaelfury
  • Nancy

    Are these people out of their minds ?!?! Have they already forgotten where the 9/11 attack started ?? ON AIRPLANES !!!!!!! Personally, I feel that EVERYONE should go through security pat downs. Yes, it can be uncomfortable for a few minutes, however, better to be safe then sorry for a lifetime. These terrorist countries TRAIN their kids from way young ! Lets try to be prepared and never see another attack against our country ! GOD BLESS AMERICA !

  • KPMc

    “One 12-year-old and her mom, a retired NYPD officer who was on duty when terrorists attacked the World Trade Center, said they would rather be safe on the plane than feel uncomfortable for a few minutes.”

    CBS sentence structure strikes again…


    “… they would rather be uncomfortable for a few minutes (on the ground) if it means feeling safe on the plane.”

    Don’t be discouraged… keep at it and someday you too will be graduated from JHS.

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