High School Principal Loses Job After Practicing Hypnosis on Students
Once again, another high school principal is coming under scrutiny and facing charges for something he did to his students. This time the man in question, George Kenney, isn’t facing charges for sexual relations with students, which is one of the more common reasons that principals and teachers face charges. Instead, he was practicing therapeutic hypnosis on his students, even though it is illegal to perform hypnosis without a license, as it can cost consequences to the person. This practice must be performed by experts such as gosforth physiotherapists and other licensed therapists.
Kenney used to hypnotize his students in order to help them do better in academics and athletics. His superiors told him to quit the practice, but Kenney did not stop and an internal investigation discovered that he had hypnotized up to 75 people on school grounds; some of the students received up to 40 sessions from the principal. As a result, he was reassigned to an administrative job and will resign from that job at the end of the school year.
“He was well regarded by many and I’m sure will be missed by many,” said Scott Ferguson, a spokesman for the Sarasota County School District.
It doesn’t seem like a little therapeutic hypnosis would be that big of a deal, until you know that three of the students that Kenney practiced on later died. Two of the students, Wesley McKinley and Brittany Palumbo, committed suicide after receiving the therapeutic hypnosis. Another student, Marcus Freeman, died in an automobile accident. Kenney’s lawyer, Mark Zimmerman, says that a link has not been established between the deaths of the students and the hypnosis.
“Dr. Kenney had no indications that these were students who would take their own lives,” said Zimmerman about the two students who committed suicide. “It is a coincidence that of the many students he was working with, two had other things going on in their lives.”
Kenney is not a licensed practitioner of therapeutic hypnosis, but he had taken a few hypnosis courses at the Omni Hypnosis Training Center in Florida. He also made some podcasts telling students that they can reduce test anxiety and improve their sports performance by using hypnosis. He said that he was just trying to help students by offering hypnosis and he allowed this to overpower his good judgement.
In a statement to investigators, Kenny said he was very sorry for “putting his school and his students through something that they didn’t need or deserve to have to endure on top of all the tragedy they already have experienced.” He then started to cry.
Via ABC News