School district to pay $600,000 over death of teens who were hypnotized by principal

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SARASOTA, Fla. – Three families in Florida will receive $200,000 each following a bizarre turn of events.

According to the Herald Tribune, the Sarasota County School District unanimously approved the $600,000 settlement following the deaths of three high school students.

The settlement closes a strange case that began after North Port High School principal George Kenney admitted to hypnotizing 16-year-old Wesley McKinley one day before the teen committed suicide.

Court documents claim that McKinley would undergo several sessions with Kenney, and wouldn’t know his own name or friends. McKinley hanged himself following a session, according to witnesses.

Brittany Palumbo, 17, was hypnotized and committed suicide in 2011. Her parents say Kenney informally diagnosed her with test anxiety and used hypnosis to improve her test scores. When her scores didn’t improve, she became depressed.

Also, 16-year-old Marcus Freeman died in a car accident after apparently hypnotizing himself, a technique that Kenney taught him.

Court documents, obtained by the Herald Tribune, claim that Kenney taught Freeman to hypnotize himself to help him ignore pain during football games.

After a painful dentist visit, Freeman drove home with his girlfriend, who said he got a strange look on his face before veering off the road.

An investigation revealed that Kenney hypnotized 75 students and staff members.

Kenney resigned as principal in 2012 and served a year of probation for unlawful practice of hypnosis.

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