Florida Principal Suspended After Hypnotizing Student Who Committed Suicide The Next Day

Categories: WTF Florida
Dr George Kenney, a high school principal in Florida, hypnotized Wesley McKinley, a 16-year-old student, in his office. The next day the male student was found dead, the victim of an apparent suicide by means of drug overdose. Now Kenney has been suspended as police and the school board attempt to figure out whether the nontraditional treatment had anything to do with the death.

Besides being the principal at North Port High School in Sarasota County, Kenney was also a hypnosis enthusiasts who had written a book on the subject. Over the past two years he had put several students under hypnosis to help them improve academically or athletically.

The unorthodox treatment was never apparently questioned until Kenney hypnotized McKinley. The student told his principal he needed help focusing on school, and wanted to be more outgoing. Kenney had the boy's parents permission and had put the boy under hypnosis three times prior.

On April 8, the following day, McKinley was found dead in a vacant home close to the one where he lived. It's believed he committed suicide by means of a drug overdose.

Kenney was suspended after the boy's parents started questioning whether or not the hypnosis and suicide may have been related.

"Dr George Kenney has been an effective administrator in the Sarasota County School District for many years," a school board spokesman told The Daily Mail. "However, his use of techniques that are outside the scope of normally accepted student counselling practices is cause for serious concern."

Though, The Sarasota Herald-Tribune reports that students at the school have started several protest groups on Facebook to show support for Kenney.

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Dr.Kenney has been the best principal Sarasota county has ever seen and as the herald tribune pointed out, no one has specifically blamed him for this student's death as both the parents and school staff had stated this student showing no warning signs of danger to himself or others.


First and foremost, my sympathies are with the family of the young man who must have suffered deeply and silently for some time before taking his own life.  However, as Principal Kenney stated, the notion that hypnosis could have led to suicide is ludicrous.  Thousands upon thousands of persons all over the world are hypnotized daily without harm, and the incontrovertible fact is that hypnosis is the safest of all medical and psychological therapies.  The portrayal of hypnosis in the entertainment industries (the old Svengali-Trilby myth) have contributed to this misunderstanding of the true nature of hypnosis.  Any so-called dangers from hypnosis are imaginary.  It simply does not work like magic as the accusation against the principal presumes, and anyone who has even a little knowledge of what hypnosis is and how it actually works will easily come to the conclusion that there is no correlation between this principal’s actions and the young man’s death.  The following addresses some of the more widely held misconceptions about hypnosis:  http://www.mind-bodydynamics.c... 

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