(NEWSER) – On Tuesday, a Florida school board approved a $600,000 payout to the families of three students who died after being hypnotized by their high school principal, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune reports. The bizarre case has its roots in 2011, when 16-year-old North Port High School quarterback Marcus Freeman died in a March car crash on his way home from a painful dental visit; principal George Kenney had taught him to hypnotize himself to deal with pain during games.

A month later, 16-year-old Wesley McKinley hanged himself after being hypnotized by Kenney three times, including on the day before his death. Friends say Wesley couldn't remember his own name after hypnosis sessions to improve his guitar playing. NBC News reports 17-year-old Brittany Palumbo hanged herself in her closet 5 months later, after Kenney hypnotized her to improve her SAT scores.

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