The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has announced its recent introduction of staffers who are trained to help passengers with disabilities.
Disability Scoop reports that more than 2,600 TSA employees have participated in the specialized training, which consists of four hours of instruction designed to prepare staffers to assist people with disabilities or special needs. The TSA collaborated with disability advocacy groups to plan the training content.
This training was highlighted in a CNN interview of TSA Administrator, John Pistole, just weeks after the TSA received widespread criticism for a poorly handled security screening of a young girl in a wheelchair. A YouTube video of the incident shows the three-year-old crying as her parents contest the agents’ suggestion that she may receive a pat-down search.
The New York Times reports that the training program has been on the TSA’s agenda for over a year, and it progressed from development and trial phases prior to its quiet launch earlier this year. While this suggests that the recent incident did not initiate the plan for specialized training, the ample public attention generated by the video seems to have reminded the TSA to place priority on expanding the awareness of, and capacity of, this passenger support program.
Along with the newly trained staffers, the TSA offers extra help for passengers with special needs through its hotline, TSA Cares, at (855)787-2227.