Thank you everyone for the overwhelming show of care and support for our family! It is so far beyond what I expected when we shared our story. Saleh has been resting and recuperating at home. No family should ever have to go through what we did. Thank you again for all your love and support! As we work on getting answers for how our family was treated, we will update this post with any new developments as they come.
We were at Orlando International Airport for our flight back home, and our boarding passes were marked “SSSS” which stands for Secondary Security Screening Selection. We were subjected to a thorough and invasive search of our belongings and ourselves. The TSA agents conducting the search told us that Saleh – who is 23 months old – had to go through the metal detector on his own. This was very difficult for Saleh who was tired and scared, being in an unfamiliar place surrounded by strangers who were demanding that he be separated from me. He screamed and cried through the entire process, and was only able to return to my arms after they were done patting down every inch of my body. The traumatic experience has had a negative impact on Saleh. He wakes up screaming in the night and needs to be held and walked around. He scares more easily than usual and is extra clingy.
This is only a brief summary of what took place, the full story was posted on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/p/BdwjI5iHag5/?taken-by=feel_good_fam
What did you do?
We made a formal complaint to the TSA, and we wrote a letter to our congressional representative to contact the TSA and demand clarification on policy regarding “SSSS” when it comes to screening children. Does the policy change for children if their parents are flagged as “SSSS”? If so, how? And if not, then what we experienced is inconsistent with the stated guidelines on the TSA’s website. The TSA needs to be held accountable for how my child was treated. We want answers as to why it happened, and what action will be taken to ensure it does not happen again to any child.
We have also reached out to CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations) and the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) to determine what our best course of action is.
We are waiting for responses from our congressional representative as well as the ACLU, and we are working with CAIR on our case.
We seek justice for how our baby was treated, but above all, we want to make sure that no family ever has to go through what we did.