More than 3,650,000 pageviews from 150 countries


Saturday, February 11, 2017

Dr. George Kenney: The Case of the Hypnotizing School Principal

     In 2001, Dr. George Kenney became the principal of North Port High School in North Port, Florida. In 2006, in an effort to help students deal with anxiety and other emotional problems, he learned how to hypnotize people at the Omni Hypnosis Training Center in DeLand, Florida. Although in Florida it is a crime to practice therapeutic hypnosis without a medical-related license, Dr. Kenney hypnotized dozens of students.

     In 2009, a Sarasota County School District supervisor told the principal to limit student hypnosis to psychology class. Dr. Kenney did not obey this directive, noting that all of his hypnotic sessions were done with parental consent.

     In February 2011, the principal hypnotized a 17-year-old senior named Brittany Palumbo. The girl had sought his advice on how, in anticipation of getting into a good college, she could do better on tests. Dr. Kenney used hypnosis to reduce this student's anxiety over taking exams.

     Shortly after hypnotizing Brittany Palumbo, Dr. Kenney taught the school's star quarterback, 16-year-old Marcus Freeman, how to hypnotize himself to improve his on-field concentration.

     On March 15, 2011, while reportedly hypnotizing himself while behind the wheel of a car, Marcus Freeman drove off the road. He died in the crash. (Since he died in the accident, I'm not sure how anyone knew he was under self-hypnosis while driving.)

     In April 2011, Dr. Kenney, notwithstanding Marcus Freeman's fatal accident, hypnotized 16-year-old Wesley McKinley. The next day the boy committed suicide.

     Brittany Palumbo, on May 4, 2011, took her own life. Dr. Kenney had hypnotized her the past February to help her with her test taking anxiety.

     Following Brittany Palumbo's death, the Sarasota County school superintendent placed the North Port High School principal on paid administrative leave pending the results of investigations by the school district and the local police.

     While initially denying that he had hypnotized Marcus Freeman and Brittany Palumbo, Dr. Kenney admitted putting both students under. Investigators determined that since 2006, the principal had hypnotized 75 students and members of the high school staff. He had hypnotized one basketball player 30 to 40 times to help the boy concentrate better on the basketball court.

     On June 12, 2012, a Sarasota County prosecutor charged Dr. Kenney with the misdemeanor offense of practicing therapeutic hypnosis without a license. Shortly after being charged, Dr. Kenney resigned from North Port High School.

     Later in 2012, the former principal pleaded no contest to the misdemeanor offense. Pursuant to the plea deal, the judge sentenced Dr. Kenney to one-year probation.

     About the time of his guilty plea, families of the three students brought a civil suit against the Sarasota County School District. The plaintiffs were prohibited under Florida law from suing Dr. Kenney personally.

     In 2013, under pressure from the Florida Department of Education, Dr. Kenney gave up his state teaching license. He was also banned from reapplying for another license to teach in Florida.

     As the date of the civil trial approached, the plaintiffs and the school district agreed to a $600,000 court settlement split three ways. On October 6, 2015, the civil suit settlement became official.

     Had the lawsuit gone to trial, the plaintiffs would have had the burden of proving, by a preponderance of the evidence, a direct causal link between George Kenney's  hypnosis and the deaths of the students.

     

2 comments:

  1. His new business. Be sure to not go and support this criminal. http://www.visitnc.com/listing/cedar-house-bed-breakfast

    ReplyDelete
  2. Ignore the user above, they clearly haven't researched the case at all. Kenney did nothing wrong, and the parents even signed waivers for this to happen. What happened was an accident, and the grieving families needed someone to take the fall, and it just so happened to be Kenney. Nobody is to blame for this, the deaths were just a terrible accident.

    ReplyDelete