"Does this girl look like a terrorist?"
That's the question The Daily asked in its headline about little Dina Frank, a seven-year-old with cerebral palsy. Why is it asking that? Because Dina's parents are telling a stunning story about what happened with their daughter this week at a TSA checkpoint in New York.
(Related: TSA pats down 4-year-old girl and defends itself for doing it)
While traveling from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport to Florida this week, Dina and her parents had to endure two separate screenings from TSA. Why two? Because after the agents had cleared Dina one time, they came back later to her gate and told her that wasn't enough and she was forced to endure it a second time.
“They make our lives completely difficult,” her father, Dr. Joshua Frank, who is a pediatrician, told The Daily. “She’s not a threat to national security.”
The Daily explains the series of events:
With her crutches and orthotics, Dina cannot walk through metal detectors and instead is patted down by security agents. The girl, who is also developmentally disabled, is often frightened by the procedure, her father said.
Marcy Frank usually asks the agents to introduce themselves to her daughter, but those on duty on Monday were exceptionally aggressive, Joshua Frank said, and he began to videotape them with his iPhone.
“And the woman started screaming at me and cursing me and threatening me,” he said.
Eventually, a supervisor decided it was sufficient to inspect Dina’s crutches and allowed the family to leave for the gate.
They were there for an hour before the agents reappeared with a manager to tell them that proper protocol had not been followed, and that Dina had to be screened after all, the Franks said. After initially offering to pat her down at the gate, they insisted she return to the security area, Joshua Frank said.
“So then I got aggravated,” he said.
With Dina now in her wheelchair, Frank raced her across the JetBlue terminal, but by then, the family had missed its plane. The Franks caught a subsequent flight.
The story is a sour ending to recent string of good news. Recently, the CBS station in New York just so happened to profile Dina because of a medical breakthrough of sorts. By getting Botox injections in her legs, Dina has started to walk a bit without the aid of her wheelchair. She's now started taking strolls around the neighborhood:
But now she's being profiled again for a different reason. And it's something her family just can't stand.
“They’re harassing people,” Joshua Frank told The Daily. “This is totally misguided policy. Yes, I understand that TSA is in charge of national security and there’s all these threats.”
“For her to be singled out, it’s crazy,” he added.
“They still attack her like she’s Osama bin Laden,” Dina's mother, Marcy, said. “It’s not fair.”
(H/T: Daily Mail)