Fla. Principal George Kenney Hypnotized Suicidal Students Who Died

By Cynthia Hsu, Esq. on June 30, 2011 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Principal George Kenney hypnotized his students, defying orders to stop the practice - and then he lied about it.

Kenney, the principal at North Port High School in Florida, reportedly hypnotized up to 75 staff, students and parents at the school, reports the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

Kenney's hypnosis sessions came under scrutiny when reports surfaced that he hypnotized Wesley McKinley, a student at the school, who later committed suicide, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune reports.

Then, another report followed that said Kenney had also hypnotized Brittany Palumbo, another student at his school, several months before her suicide. He also had a session with Marcus Freeman, a student, who died in a car crash six days after his hypnosis session, according to the Herald-Tribune.

Kenney had originally denied hypnotizing the students. He later admitted that he had. His attorney said that Kenney was under a lot of stress and had simply slipped up when speaking to investigators, reports the Herald-Tribune.

Though, as strange as hypnosis may seem, Kenney's hypnosis was well-known throughout the high school community.

Kenney said that he did the sessions to help students do better in exams and in sports, reports WTVT-TV. A teacher at the school also told investigators that Kenney was strict with kids who wanted to get hypnotized, requiring them to get signed permission slips.

Kenney has since been suspended from the school and has worked in an administrative position at the Sarasota School District, reports The Daily Mail.

Will Kenney face any sort of criminal charges? One of the parents of a student who committed suicide had called into question whether or not the hypnosis may have played a role in their son's death, reports The Daily Mail. Notably, the student had a permission slip signed by his parents allowing him to participate.

Plus, George Kenney hypnotized students mainly to help them with their schooling and athletic performance. Police were investigating, however, whether or not Kenney broke a law that prohibits hypnosis sessions by lay hypnotists without medical supervision. He could be charged with a misdemeanor, punishable by 60 days in jail or a $500 fine, reports the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

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