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Airport security must take their hands off minors

U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, has rightfully proposed legislation that would help curb some of the intrusive security measures at U.S. airports.

The legislation would prohibit full-body pat downs of minors without parents’ permission, as well as require that parents are present during pat downs.

This legislation is truly needed.

Not just adults, but young children and teens across the U.S. are subjected to random pat downs regardless of whether they set off metal detectors. As it is now, even if parents have concerns, children aren’t exempt from the searches.

Earlier this month, a YouTube video of a 6-year-old girl undergoing a full-body pat down that an agent said included “sensitive areas” made headlines and evoked anger across the country.

This, in addition to Chaffetz’s 15-year-old daughter receiving private full-body pat down in a Salt Lake City airport earlier this month without his or his wife’s permission, prompted the congressman to write the legislation.

“I am so furious with them I can’t even see straight,” Chaffetz said to the Salt Lake City Tribune. “They should not be taking minors by themselves for pat downs.”

Instead, he suggested the use of bomb sniffing dogs.

“That is what they do in the White House, the House of Representatives and in the theater of war,” Chaffetz said to the Daily Herald. “They aren’t bringing in whole-body scanning machines, they are bringing in dogs.”

As the congressman noted, dogs are a much more sensible solution that, in addition to metal detectors and even the controversial full-body scanners, eliminates the need to touch minors to preserve the safety of a plane.

Though it’s necessary and commendable to undertake thorough efforts to protect U.S. air passengers, especially after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, there is a line that shouldn’t be crossed when dealing with young people’s personal privacy.

Many times, it’s impossible to know if an individual is a pedophile or a sexual predator until after an assault has occurred.

This reality can affect all sensitive occupational positions, which, unfortunately, may also include security screeners at the nation’s airports.

With the thorough baggage checks, metal detectors and whole-body scanners, pat downs should be reserved for only extreme risks, not children.

U.S. citizens and their government should have the courage to risk the consequences of not using this offensive security measure to protect the nation’s young people.