Last updated at 7:06 PM on 29th June 2011
Investigation: North Port High School principal Dr George Kenney
was suspended after hypnotising three students
Police have launched an investigation into a high school principal who hypnotised three students who later died.
George Kenney was suspended from his job after he admitted hypnotising a 16-year-old boy who a day later committed suicide.
But it has since emerged he hypnotised another student who killed herself and a 16-year-old who died in a car crash days after seeing the principal for the private session.
Investigators with the North Port Police and Florida Department of Health have launched a joint investigation into the activities of Kenney.
It follows a report by school chiefs who found that he had lied to officials about hypnotism sessions and defied three separate orders to stop the practice.
An investigation by officials at the North Port High School following the April suicide of of Wesley McKinley uncovered other students who had come under the principal's influence.
Tragic death: Brittany Palumbo, 17, committed suicide after she was hypnotised by George Kenney at her school
Also dead: An investigation was launched into Kenney's hypnotism sessions after Wesley McKinley, right, committed suicide in April. Marcus Freeman, pictured left with his girlfriend, died in a car wreck in March
He is alleged to have hypnotised 17-year-old Brittany Palumbo five months before she killed herself on May 4 and had hypnosis sessions with 16-year-old Marcus Freeman six days before he died in a car wreck on March 15. All three were students at his school.
He first told police he never hypnotised the girl but later admitted he had lied.
Kenney, who has been suspended since April, has denied any wrongdoing.
But the report revealed Kenney hypnotized up to 75 people at the school, including students and their parents, as well as staff members and their children.
A teacher at the school, Linda Thornton, 68, was also killed in a car wreck while driving to work in November. It is not known whether she was hypnotised by Kenney.
Kenney has claimed the students were happy to be hypnotised as it helped them concentrate in class.
Many of the students were taking part in competitive sports and he said the hypnosis helped them focus.
North Port High School in North Port, Florida, where Dr Kenney was principal before he was placed on adminstrative leave
Kenney came under the spotlight after teenager Wesley McKinley was found dead in an abandoned house from a suspected drugs overdose two months ago.
The day before he killed himself he underwent a hypnosis session with Mr Kenney, a certified hypnotist who has written a book on the subject.
An investigation has revealed that Wesley, who had showed no outward sign of depression, got his mother's signed approval to take part in the session at North Port High School in North Port, Florida.
But his parents said they had a 'ton of questions' and wondered if the hypnosos had played a part in their son's decision to take his own life.
Since being suspended from the school Kenney has been in an administrative position in the offices of the Sarasota School District.
Speaking about the death of her friend Brittany on May 4, student Marla Korenich, 18, said: 'I never thought one of my friends would die in high school. I can't eat and can't sleep. School is intolerable. I still can't really grasp the fact that this is happening.'
She told the Herald Tribune she knew her close friend was in pain, but she could not comprehend how deep it ran.
'Every day I tried to make her smile and let her know I was there,' she said.