Jillian Jacobson was well-liked by her students. The photography instructor was only 31 years old and lived in Anaheim with her 34-year-old husband. She taught at El Dorado High School in the Orange County town of Placentia.
Students say that they saw no signs of Jillian Jacobson appearing to be depressed. But when they arrived for class last week, they found the classroom door locked. It was 8:40 a.m., and student thought Jacobson was just late, so they had another teacher open the door to let them in. But they found Jacobson hanging from the ceiling.
Two staff members got Jillian Jacobson down and called 911.
“She appears to have committed suicide prior to the start of school at some point in time,” Placentia police Lt. Eric Point said. “When police and fire arrived, the teacher was in cardiac arrest,” Point said. “After several minutes, she was declared deceased at the scene.”
“Right away we knew something really horrible had happened,” freshman Tessa Hoover told the Orange County Register newspaper.
Didn't have Mrs.Jacobson for very long, but the time that I did have her she made my life a lot better.
— Brienne Trujillo☾ (@BrienneElyse) March 2, 2015
Jillian Jacobson’s own father had committed suicide four years earlier. She had recently done a week-long unit on depression for freshmen at the high school. She told students that, if they ever felt down, they should ask for help. She talked about how much a person’s suicide affects those around them.
Jillian Jacobson had been employed by El Dorado High School since 2008. She had a bachelor’s degree in ceramics and glass, and art education and a master’s degree in educational leadership.
Jillian Jacobson also participated in a children’s art camp at Cal State Fullerton. In her bio on the website for the camp, she said:
“My goal every summer is to give campers an experience they will always remember, and to send them home with art work they will be proud of for years to come.”