NORTH PORT, Fla. (AP) — High school principal George Kenney acknowledged using hypnosis to help people: students who needed to relax before tests, a basketball player having trouble making free throws and even school secretaries who wanted to quit smoking.

But now the popular 51-year-old principal’s future at North Port High School is in question since it came to light that he had hypnotized two students before their separate suicides this spring. There is no indication their deaths were any more than a tragic coincidence. However, Kenney acknowledged conducting the sessions after being warned by his boss to stop such one-on-one hypnosis with students at school. In April, according to the Sarasota County School District report, he hypnotized a 16-year-old student to help him better focus on a test. The next day, the boy committed suicide. Kenney was put on leave in May when the boy’s parents, who had given their permission for the sessions, raised concerns after his death.

The administrator’s situation then got stickier when an investigation showed that he had also hypnotized another student five months before her May 4 suicide, initially lied about it and had defied three separate verbal warnings to stop the sessions with students.

A 134-page independent investigative report released by the district last week includes an interview with Kenney, who acknowledged defying the orders and then lying.

“I’m not saying I used great judgment all the time here,” he told an investigator. “I think I used poor judgment several times.”

Poor judgment would be an understatement, sheesh.

  1. msbpodcast says:

    This “report” come from Florida, our most fucked up state. Nuff said.

  2. Dallas says:

    If it’s not women teachers after the boys it’s principals hypnotizing them. What is it with you straight people?

  3. bobbo, sometimes a doll is just a doll says:

    Gary the Waffling Infidel==do you see yourself in this at all?: ““I’m not saying I used great judgment all the time here,” he told an investigator. “I think I used poor judgment several times.” /// Actually, he corrected most of his error at the end, but it follows his failure to deal with the reality of stopping what he was told to stop is reflected in his linguistic failure to deal with the same subject. Quibbling and waffling, timid and indirect. Yes, he looks the fool he is.

    You know==we all make mistakes. But to make the same mistake after being told to stop is no longer the same mistake we initially think of. Its a different kettle of fish.

    If we were to teach socialization in school, that could be the fourth “R”–for Responsibility as in take responsibility for what you do, say, think, write. Its who you are.

  4. jescott418 says:

    Where do these people come from? How in world do they get hired?

  5. bobbo, sometimes a doll is just a doll says:

    jescott–its a puzzler isn’t it? “In my experience” I would say mostly “they look good in a suit.” Those who succeed in organizations usually do it by kissing upwards in the heirarchy. Have to do that as by and large the hierarchy cannot judge/doesn’t know competency from obsequiousness or shit from shinola.

    Ha, ha. Reminds me I almost got fired myself, or surely I hurt myself, when that was my review of a candidate for a VP position. “He looks good in a suit.” Of course, what I did was just show all the positive reviewers didn’t know shit from shinola–including my boss. I had a reputation for being “bobbo.” The guy wasn’t hired, but I don’t think I did MYSELF any favors.

    Tough line to walk.

  6. GregAllen says:

    What an idiot! I would NEVER EVER hypnotize a student. Never.

    And I could! In high school I worked in a restaurant/lounge and we regularly had one of those entertainment hypnotists in.

    I watched him so much, that I figured out how to do it (as a party trick, not as therapy.) So, in my 20s, I’d do it at get togethers with my friends. People loved it.

    But, I stopped for a variety of reasons — being a little creepy was one of them.

  7. bobbo, sometimes a doll is just a doll says:

    I was in a strip club, first row, in Anchorage Alaska a while back. For variety as it was cold outside, they had a Hypnotist. He brought up a few people from the audience to make them cluck like a chicken or what not and it was “very informative” hearing him under his breath tell a volunteer: “Please go along with this, I’m trying to earn a living.”—and the volunteer went along with it.

    I think about that strip bar and Mukluks every time I see anyone on stage–which includes everyone “on camera.”

    Mukluk–more than just a shoe, but also a cross between an Eskimo and a Seal? Or something like that–I was drinking cold beer to keep warm……..I mustabeen hybnotized!

  8. GregAllen says:


    Yeah, that’s one of the techniques.

    It’s not 100% fraud but stage hypnotists will certainly do what it takes to have a good show. Having a back-up ringer in the audience is also useful if the show goes bad.

    The best subjects are highly willing extroverts. They WANT to do goofy stuff in front of a crowd at your direction.

    I don’t pretend to be a big expert in this subject, BTW. I was strictly an amateur but I do think I understand how the pro’s do it.

  9. GregAllen says:


    I should have asked: he didn’t hypnotize any of the strippers? That would make the show even more interesting.

  10. bobbo, sometimes a doll is just a doll says:

    Greg–I know the pop culture of how it works==willing subjects with a proclivity to do what they are willing to do. IE–I don’t think you “should be” able to get any of your organists from church to strip in front of the congregation. That explains acting like an idiot–but how does one regress or remember license plate numbers and what not that cannot be done when fully conscious.

    I accept in a vague way that “something” goes on with some people. I would of course be totally insulted if it worked on me, so I assume/hope I am not a good candidate.

    As I recall–the strippers wouldn’t do anything on stage or off without getting paid. I don’t think they work on a social approval model. Heh, heh.

  11. chuck says:

    It’s five years later and I still think I’m a chicken. I’m a chicken, Marge!

  12. GregAllen says:


    The guy I watched didn’t do the license plate trick. I _think_ however, it might have to do with the high level of focus and concentration that the best hypnotized people have. The hypnotist could also be doing the whispering trick, too.

    I’m confident I could never be hypnotized now. However, as a kid, maybe.

    (If you saw our church organists, you’d know why they shouldn’t be stripping anywhere – hypnotized or not.)

    My mind is not made up about hypnotherapy, BTW. Having been introduced to hypnotism as basically a magic show, I’m skeptical. But I know that some very qualified people believe in it.

  13. bobbo, sometimes a doll is just a doll says:

    Greg–belief? Its got nothing to do with belief. It works–on certain people for certain issues. Given its totally variable nature, it is of course extremely subject to frauds, social pressure, and what not.

    Saw a tv show that I assume is true: information brought out under hypnosis cannot be used in court unless independently verified. That makes sense.

    Suggestibility is a VERY interesting phenomenon especially since we can auto-suggest. A tool that reaches right into our subconscious. Fascinating.

    The older I get, the more instances I have of not being able to recall if some past action/situation is real, a dream, a thought, or something I read or saw in a movie. Some are quite “powerful” and I have to remember I never was in South Carolina in the 90’s. Really gives some teeth to movies playing with memories and implanted thoughts and what not.

    Directed Dreaming. Cheaper than a movie ticket–more relevant too.

  14. hashref says:

    Yeah… Like hypnotherapy seriously works. Let’s ask God to strike a tree near to school and get his/her take on the subject! Either way… there isn’t a jury in Florida that will convict the guy. No worries!

  15. Special Ed says:

    I’ve seen a few high school girls I’d hypnotize!

    /I’ll have a seat right over here.

  16. akallio9000 says:

    “The principal hypnotized my kid into thinking he was a chicken last year, it just now wore off”

    “Heavens, why didn’t you take him to a therapist?”

    “We needed the eggs”

  17. foobar says:

    I tried to use hypnosis in high school to get girls to take off their bikini tops.

  18. Rick says:

    They used to have hypnotists do skits at my highschool. I always thought it was inapproprate and rather creepy.

  19. soundwash says:


    -this is a tell in disguise…

    the REAL issue should be the various techniques in use by the news media, tv/hollywood and politicians to hypnotize and suggest to the masses, all sorts of grimy BS that has nothing to do with reality..

    anyone who is awake knows this has been going on for decades, and can easily spot it most all cases

    this guy/news blurb, is just a hat tip to how easy it is to manipulate weak minds with just your own mind and body..

    given the vast research done in this field along with with current state of technology, manipulating the masses is easy as flipping a switch. To deny this, is to wholly admit ignorance of the issue and all it’s subtleties.

    THIS, is what should be front and center everywhere.

    many people need to come to terms with the fact their reality is, and has been, highly manufactured for most, if not all of their lives.

    WAKE UP.. this is some scribbling on the wall laughing at you..

    DO the RESEARCH, learn the truth.. -discover the true reality for yourself. -its not hard and if nothing else, -highly enlightening, if not entertaining.


  20. So much for being innovative or novel in teaching methods
    It would of been better for this fellow to have stayed in bed – or got in his truck and went fishing or hunting
    Then again what has Obama with all this stimulus money done for education and the education process ?

  21. Martha says:

    I neither trust hypnosis but among all this: It can hardly be a coincidence these students all comitted suicide! The only explanaition I can imagine is them just having weak minds from the outset and therefor being prone to this esoteric crap.

  22. lynn says:

    There’s actually quite a lot of interesting brain research on hypnosis. People who are susceptible to hypnosis, or can use self-hypnosis easily, usually also have well-developed imaginations and sometimes a tendency to the type of dissociation that we commonly experience when we drive home from work, deep in thought, and can’t remember any of the trip.

    Hypnosis is really just a state of deep relaxation. It’s a very useful therapy for quitting smoking, compulsions like overeating, and anxiety.

    I can’t even imagine what connection there could be between hypnosis and suicide. However, if the principle is untrained and just goofing around, he was unethical and perhaps criminal to goof around with children.

  23. sargasso_c says:

    #22 Martha, I agree. Whether the hypnosis resulted in the deaths or coincided with them is unclear. Hypnosis, I assume is manual suggestion which bypasses inhibitions.

  24. lynn says:

    Continuing to think about this, possibly students who go to the principal and willingly sit around for pseudo-therapeutic ‘treatments’ are already pretty much troubled.

    Post hoc propter hoc is a logical fallacy.

  25. lynn says:

    #24, I’ve heard of some problems of hypnotherapists inadvertantly placing false memories in patients. I don’t believe there is any documented case of someone being made to act against their normal code of behavior, ala “the Manchurian Candidate”.

  26. Olo Baggins of Bywater says:

    #26…I recall many of the once-fashionable “my relative sexually abused me 25 years ago” stories came about as a result of hypnotherapy.

  27. lynn says:

    #27, correct, that’s placement of false memories. See also alien abductions.

  28. lynn says:

    This also could explain bobbo’s confession in #13 that he’s not always sure what’s a real memory. I mean, alien abduction could explain it, not hypnosis.

    There’s an interesting book, “Kluge”, that talks about the deficiencies of human memory.

  29. bobbo, sometimes a doll is just a doll says:

    lynn–my anus is in good shape, no alien abductions or weekends on Fire Island for me. While I did make a weak recognition between hypnosis and dream states, you really did make it concrete for me.

    what I enjoy about my own commentary is how I like to posit/play with the notion that truths are universal in their applicability–so when I say “I” sometimes have to really concentrate to tell the difference between a dream and an actual experience that I am only remembering==I mean we all do that, BUT I wonder how many false memories are lazily accepted as true by people who are not as interested as I am in how we think/what we believe/how we define ourselves.

    Few negative things we recognize in other people are not also present in ourselves, and vice versa. All a matter of degree and insight. As stated–and even if that is not true, or to the degree its not true==its still a valuable idea to play around with.

    A life unexamined has not been lived.


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