I’ve received a few pieces of email about this story.
It’s about Mark Fraunfelder’s 15-year-old daughter being told to “cover up” due to the fact that a TSO made the moral judgement that the girl was inadequately covered in regard to her clothing choice. As always, the reason that this inappropriate behavior by a TSA agent comes to our attention is because the guy picked the wrong person to fuck with: Mark Fraunfelder, the father of the girl, is the founder of Boing Boing. If something gets posted on Boing Boing, there is always a damn good chance that it will go viral.
I occasionally heard TSA screeners saying things similar to “she should cover up!” while working at TSA, though the remarks I heard about teenage girls’ clothing choices were always made in private, off the checkpoint floor, not directly to the girl, as in this case. To my regular readers, I apologize for repeating myself, but I again direct everyone to another former TSA employee’s blog. She, the former TSA screener, says that as an employee for the TSA, she felt that a lot of girls should be embarrassed about the way they dress going through the airport. I quote:
A good deal of you should be embarrassed and humiliated. I have seen 12 year old girls dressed like Tijuana whores with mommy right next to them dressed the same way…
…this is the stuff you should be ashamed of and worried about TSA officers seeing. This is what should make you feel humiliated.
You can read this former TSA employee’s blog post here. Of course, we all have opinions on what’s appropriate in regard to people’s clothing choices, and what’s not appropriate, based on various criteria. Most of us keep those opinions to ourselves, though. And if you’re a federal employee, voicing that opinion directly to the person is not only wrong, it is just plain stupid. Really, really stupid.
It’s such a stupid thing to have done that I believe that this was likely a case of a somewhat mentally unstable TSA screener who decided to get all Taliban on the girl. And yes, of course, the chances are fairly good that the screener was attracted to the girl, and projected his deviant desires onto the girl. (“I find you attractive, and I know that this feeling could potentially manifest itself into deviant behavior. I don’t know how to cope with this. So…cover up, you!”) But now we’re getting into the whole Freudian pocket-psychoanalyst thing. We’ll never really know what was going through his head. What we do know is that the TSA screener made a moral judgement regarding the girl’s clothing choice, voiced his opinion to her, embarrassed her, and is soon going to be out of a job.
He will very likely be terminated, most likely either within a week (if the employee has been with the agency for less than 2 years) or within about a month or two (if the employee is past the 2-year probationary period). They’re most likely running the security footage tapes back at LAX up in the manager’s office right about now, and preparing to bring the screener in for questioning, if they haven’t already. A post will likely go up on the official TSA blog fairly soon, first telling us that an investigation is being opened and that the TSA does not tolerate such behavior, and then, within a month or so, informing us that the screener has been terminated, and that he represented an anomaly in the TSA workforce.
I tried typing “15-year-old girl” into the TSA Policy and Statement Generator, and after just 4 clicks came upon an appropriate statement for their PR department in regard to this matter.
“Our track record is clear: since 9/11, not a single 9/11 has happened again. The news story currently going viral concerning a passenger’s 15-year-old-girl is not representative of our otherwise successful track record.”
I hope you’re using the Statement Generator, TSA headquarters. I’m telling you, it will save you guys a lot of time.