Carlos Garcia, the superintendent of the Clark County, Nev., public schools, wants everyone to know he is not a terrorist.
The head of the 281,000- student district that includes Las Vegas says he is trying to get federal officials to remove him from a list of people who must undergo additional security checks at airports.
Mr. Garcia’s problems began in July, when he tried to get a boarding pass online from his home—a timesaver he had often used before. But the airline’s Web site denied the request. At the airport, he learned he’d been flagged by a new process that identifies people for further identification checks.
The same thing has happened about 10 times since then. In each case, he had to wait in line with passengers checking baggage or making changes in their plans.
“At first, I thought it was kind of funny, but it has lost its humor after a while,” Mr. Garcia said in a recent interview. He once missed his flight as a result.
Last summer, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., said at a hearing in Washington that he had been wrongly detained several times at Boston’s Logan Airport because of his name, a situation that his office cleared up.
Mr. Garcia, in trying to solve the problem, has written to such federal agencies and officials as the Transportation Security Administration, the Department of Homeland Security, and Sen. Harry Reid, the Nevada Democrat who is now the minority leader of the U.S. Senate.
Last month, the TSA wrote back with a letter it said he could present at the airport—hardly a solution, Mr. Garcia argues, since it still requires that he wait in line.
Officials at the TSA, an arm of the Homeland Security Department, said this month that his name might resemble that of someone they have concerns about. Mr. Garcia notes there are 13 Carlos Garcias in the Las Vegas phone book alone. The agency is testing a computer system it says will reduce the need for people in his situation to speak with a ticket agent.
For now, Mr. Garcia worries about travel delays during the upcoming state legislative session in Carson City. “My generation grew up in the era of the Cold War and all those things that happened in the Soviet Union,” said the former civics teacher. “And now they’re happening here.”
A version of this article appeared in the January 26, 2005 edition of Education Week as Nev. Superintendent Lands on List of Suspect Travelers