The Transportation Security Administration is apologizing for making a nursing mother use her breast milk pump in an airport bathroom to prove its purpose.
Amy Strand, an elementary school vice principal, was on her way home to Maui with her 9-month-old daughter when she was flagged for security screening at Lihue Airport.
A TSA worker questioned whether the empty bottles Strand was carrying were for breast milk and told her that she couldn’t board the plane with the bottles and pump.
“He said I couldn’t go through because there was no milk in the bottles,” Strand said in an interview with KITV4 News. “But I was not going to leave a part of the breast pump behind — it cost over $200. He told me that my option was to leave it behind or to put milk into it.”
There was no private area where Strand could plug in the electric breast pump, so the TSA officer accompanied her into the women’s restroom, where she was forced to plug into the room's only outlet.
"I had to stand in front of the mirrors and the sinks and pump my breast, in front of every tourist that walked into that bathroom," Strand told KITV4 News.
Once the bottles were filled, she was allowed to board the plane.
In a statement to KITV4 News, Lorie Dankers, spokeswoman for the TSA’s Northwest Region, said, "We accept responsibility for the apparent misunderstanding and any inconvenience or embarrassment this incident may have caused her."
Strand said the officer should have been more familiar with TSA policies.
“It really confuses me as to how an empty breast pump and cooler pack are a threat to national security and 20 minutes later, with milk, they no longer pose a threat to national security,” Strand told ABCNews.com.