The door was locked around 8:40am yesterday when a few students arrived at Jillian Jacobson's photography classroom at El Dorado High School in Placentia, Calif. "That's not normal for that hour of the day," a police lieutenant explains to the Orange County Register. The students found another teacher to open the door and were met with a horrific scene: Jacobson, 31, hanged from the ceiling. A student in the other teacher's class says they could hear "screaming, crying," and their teacher yelling, "Oh my God, oh my God!" after the door was opened. That teacher and Jacobson's students lowered Jacobson to the floor, and paramedics tried to revive her, but she was pronounced dead at the scene, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Jacobson was a popular teacher—and her own father had committed suicide, according to several students who say it was not uncommon for Jacobson to speak out against such an action, advising students that "suicide was not the answer," as KTLA puts it. No suicide note was found, but the preliminary investigation indicates she did take her own life, the lieutenant says. "She gave no signs of being depressed or sad," says one of her former students. Another student at the school, one of many who mourned Jacobson on Twitter, said she remembered the teacher often "really brightened up everyone's day." But others say she was struggling with "personal issues." The students who found Jacobson were taken to crisis counselors immediately, and grief counselors were made available at the school. (Read more teacher stories.)