A wheelchair-bound 3-year-old girl on her way to Disney World became distraught when she was patted down by a Transportation Security Administration agent apparently looking for explosives.
The Feb. 9 incident at the Lambert-St. Louis International Airport was partially captured on a cell phone video. It shows the toddler, Lucy Forck, of Osage Beach, Mo., crying, "I don’t want to go to Disney World," as a female TSA agent hovers behind her, instructing the girl's mother to put away her cell phone.
Lucy's father Nathan Forck said that as soon as his daughter passed through the TSA scanner, an agent pulled her aside to check her wheelchair and pat her down to see if the child had explosives on her.
In the process, Forck said, his daughter's favorite stuffed animal, a baby lamb, was taken away by a TSA agent, making the situation even more stressful and causing her to cry.
"It was the first time we traveled anywhere together as a family," Forck told the New York Daily News
. "I guess everyone else takes the TSA’s scrutiny for granted, but we wanted to speak up and say that it doesn’t have to be like this."
According to the TSA, all passengers in wheelchairs are subject to such examinations as a precaution.
In the five-minute video, which was uploaded to YouTube with the title "Shh! TSA Wants to Touch Your Kids," Lucy cries as her mother tells the agent she won't "allow anyone to touch my little daughter" without filming the incident.
After detaining the family for 45 minutes, including Lucy's two older sisters, TSA agents eventually let the family board the plane, but only after they searched the toddler's wheelchair.
"It’s heartbreaking because she was singled out just because she was disabled," Nathan said. "If a cop came up and searched her on the street, that would be a violation of the Fourth Amendment. But because you’re in an airport, it’s okay."
TSA officials later contacted the family and reportedly apologized for the encounter.
"TSA regrets inaccurate guidance was provided to this family during screening and offers its apology," TSA said in a statement to Fox News. "We are committed to maintaining the security of the traveling public and strive to treat all passengers with dignity and respect. While no pat-down was performed, we will address specific concerns with our workforce."
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