Police ID teacher found hanging in Placentia classroom as 31-year-old photography instructor

Students Find High School Teacher Dead in Classroom
Students Find High School Teacher Dead in Classroom


A 31-year-old female teacher was declared dead after students found her hanging inside a high school classroom in Placentia, authorities said Monday.

Jillian Rose Jacobson, 31, of Anaheim, died at El Dorado High School, at 1651 Valencia Ave. in the Orange County city of Placentia.

Police and firefighters were called the campus at 8:40 a.m., and when they arrived, the female adult teacher was found in full cardiac arrest, Placentia Police Department Lt. Eric Point said.

CPR was performed but was unsuccessful and the teacher was declared dead at the scene. There was no indication of foul play, according to police.

Students found the woman hanging inside the classroom, and school staff brought her down to the ground, Point said.

Jacobson was a photography teacher who had been at the school about 10 years, Point said. Her husband had been notified of her death, he said.

The door was locked when students arrived for their first-period class, and after another teacher came to let them in, the teens discovered their teacher, the lieutenant said.

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An initial investigation indicated the teacher had hanged herself, according to Point. No note was left and detectives were not sure why she had committed suicide.

Jacobson was a popular teacher who had close friends among the faculty, Point said.

Some students on campus were distraught.

"We lost a very important faculty member," one student told KTLA. "She was the greatest teacher that was here. She was an amazing teacher. It was a terrible thing that happened today."

The student said Jacobson had always said suicide was not an answer. Others students said they believed the teacher had been battling personal issues.

"She was also happy and full of life during class," said student Maya Shepherd.

An autopsy was expected to take place later in the week, according to a press release on the Orange County coroner's website. She was found in Room 902, the coroner's post stated.

The post originally stated she died at 12:45 a.m., but it was later changed to 7 a.m. The original figure may have been a "placeholder time," Supervising Deputy Coroner Allison O'Neal said. Investigators estimate that Jacobson died about 7 a.m. based on an initial investigation, O'Neal said Monday afternoon.

There was an "emergency medical situation" involving a teacher at the school, Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District Assistant Superintendent Kevin Lee said earlier Monday. Students were safe and officials were working to release students early, Lee said.

Counselors were at the school and met with the students who found Jacobson, police said. Classes were expected to resume Tuesday.

A candlelight vigil was planned for 7 p.m. Monday at the school, according to a Facebook event post.

Jacobson's death marked the second time in a year that the news spotlight focused on the Placentia campus amid a tragedy. Last March, students and staff grieved for a 16-old-student named Logan Wells, who was fatally struck by an SUV while riding his skateboard.

KTLA's Jennifer Thang and Mark Mester contributed to this article.

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