22 Jan 2016
Kylah Simmons joins Peter Reitzes to discuss being allegedly detained for an hour at the Atlanta International Airport because she stutters. Ms. Simmons reports and alleges that she was detained in isolation because of her stuttering, had her phone taken, was not allowed to contact her family, missed her connecting flight, was repeatedly told she was lying and dishonest and was informed during questioning that she really didn’t stutter. Ms. Simmons courageously told the official, “My stuttering is not a problem;it is a personal challenge that I face.”
Ms. Simmons is seeking to draw greater public attention to this issue, in part, so that customs, border and security officials and staff are better trained to interact with members of the public who stutter. Ms. Simmons is not asking that anyone be fired and is not seeking monetary payment; she is seeking better understanding of stuttering and greater attention to these issues.
StutterTalk reached out to the Atlanta office of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection on this issue and was told “no comment.” StutterTalk also contacted the national office of U.S. Customs and Border Protection before going to air but did not receive an immediate response.
Kylah Simmons is a person who stutters, a college Junior at Kalamazoo College, and is hoping to pursue a future career as a television producer. She has spread stutter awareness through her blog, Stutter With A Group, as well as conducted speeches to several institutions on stuttering.