Published: May 18, 2011 10:43 PM EDT
Updated: May 18, 2011 10:23 PM EDT

NORTH PORT, Fla. -  There's controversy at a Southwest Florida high school.

The principal at North Port High School is put on paid leave after a student kills himself.

The suicide happened one day after the principal hypnotized the student.

Principal George Kenney is a certified hypnotists and has been hypnotizing his students for some time.

"About half my class what hypnotized along side me," said Justin Richard, a junior at North Port High.

Richard is one of the many students hypnotized by Principal Dr. George Kenney.

"It was very relaxing. It's kind of hard to described," Richard said about his experience.

His friend Matthew White was also hypnotized.

White says it helped him focus for upcoming tests.

"It helped me get prepared for the next day," he said.

A spokesperson for the Sarasota School District says Dr. Kenney was allowed to perform hypnosis in psychology classrooms as long as the students got parental permission.

Dr. Kenney has written several books about hypnosis and is beloved by his students.

"He's a great person. A great leader of the school and a role model for the people who go to North Port High," Richard said.

But right now the principal is on paid administrative leave while the school district investigates whether the hypnosis is linked to a student's recent suicide.

According to a school spokesperson, Dr. Kenney was hypnotizing students in one on one sessions.

Last month 16 year-old Wesley McKinley had a session with his principal.

The next day McKinley committed suicide.

Though he got parental permission, a spokesperson says these sessions were unauthorized by the school district.

"There's been allegations he used inappropriate counseling techniques with students," said Gary Leatherman, a communications specialist with the Sarasota School District.

According to his mother, Wesley McKinley didn't have any signs of depression and was not suicidal.

She told WINK News her son was looking forward to getting his driving license the following week.

Adding it almost seemed like he was in a trance, which is why they wonder if they hypnosis is to blame.

Some students don't think so.

"I just relaxes you. It doesn't make you think different thoughts," said Matthew White.

Dr. Kenney is on paid leave until the investigation is complete.

Some students and parents would like to see him back on the job immediately.