Family suing school district over hypnotism speaks out

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SARASOTA COUNTY - Wednesday ABC 7 sat down for an exclusive interview with one of the three families who are suing the Sarasota County School District after they lost a child from North Port High School.

Parents Dana and Paul Freeman miss their son Marcus. "Great kid, happy...always happy, always joking."

On March 15th, 2011, with his girlfriend in the truck, the 16-year-old suddenly veered off the interstate and struck a tree.  Marcus died in the crash.

The incident impacted their lives and others. "One of my three reasons for waking up every morning, my three kids, that is. It is a huge hole in my heart," says Paul.

Marcus was on the way home from having a tooth pulled at the dentist when his girlfriend says his eyes rolled and his head slumped. "He hypnotized himself while going 70 miles an hour going down the road."

A technique they say they later learned came from recent hypnosis sessions with his high school principal George Kenney -- sessions they thought were to help with better concentration on the football field and in the classroom. "We find out that other actions were taking place," say the Freemans.

They say he was also being taught by the principal to self hypnotize to deal with pain on the field, something Marcus simply didn't know how to handle and could have used to deal with the pain in his mouth.

It's a practice they say Kenney was not licensed to teach to anyone. Something their experts believe could have led to the crash. "We are 100% convinced. I would never accuse someone of something like this had I not had all the facts prior to doing this. This is not a witch hunt. This is the truth."

Paul, who is a Venice Police officer, and Dana, who actually works for the school, say the district and school administrators knew all about Kenney's hobby. "Looking the other way. That is exactly what the school board did with George Kenney."

They say the lawsuit against the district is the only thing they can do. "There are a lot of things I would like to say to George Kenney. Unfortunately they cannot be aired and it is not the Christian thing to do."

George Kenney could not be reached for comment Wednesday. We are told he no longer lives in the state.