Wheelchair-Bound Preteen Held by TSA After Traces of Explosives Found
A Texas mom was dumbfounded and angry when her preteen, wheelchair-bound daughter was left sobbing at the security gate at the Dallas-Fort Worth airport when reps from the Transportation Security Administration detected traces of explosive on her hand.
Shelbi Walser, 12, has brittle bone disease, and was flying to Tampa, Fla., to receive treatment on Sunday when she was randomly selected for an explosives screening on her way through security. Tammy Daniels, Walser's mother, said that her daughter tested positive for explosives when a screener swabbed Walser's palms and fingers.
Daniels was separated from her daughter for an hour while the situation was sorted out. All she was able to do was film the incident and her embarrassed daughter crying.
"It's O.K., you didn't do anything wrong, we're going to get you on your way," an official can be heard saying to the girl on the video.
Speaking with ABC affiliate WFAA, Walser said that she has no idea how the traces of explosive got on her.
"It could have come off fertilizer, because we have chickens. I could have run through something from them," she said. "It could have just come off the ground, because I roll through everything."
But the TSA is defending their actions after the incident.
"We are sensitive to the concerns of passengers who were not satisfied with their screening experience and we invite those individuals to provide feedback to TSA through a variety of channels," the TSA said in a statement. "We work to balance those concerns with the very real threat that our adversaries will attempt to use explosives to carry out attacks on planes."
Despite the delay, the mother and daughter made their flight to Tampa. Daniels, however, feels that the screening that was so grueling for her girl was too much.
"I am by no means undermining our safety in the air. After 9/11, by no means am I doing that," Daniels told WFAA. "But when it comes to children, common sense is not in a textbook."