El Dorado High School
Tara Fowler
March 03, 2015 09:50 AM

A 31-year-old high school photography teacher was found dead by her students Monday morning.

Police say Jillian Jacobson, 31, was discovered hanging in her classroom at El Dorado High School in Placentia, California, at around 8:40 a.m., when another teacher unlocked the door for some of her students, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Paramedics attempted to revive her, but were unsuccessful. “When police and fire arrived, the teacher was in cardiac arrest,” Placentia Police Lt. Eric Point told the Orange County Register. “After several minutes, she was declared deceased at the scene.”

He added to the Times: “The preliminary investigation indicates it was a suicide.”

Students and teachers are devastated by Jacobson’s death. “If you take into account how everyone reacted by crying and being upset, you’ll see how everyone was completely surprised that it was her,” 16-year-old Leo Amaya told the Register. “She gave no signs of being depressed or sad.”

On Monday evening, hundreds gathered for a vigil in Jacobson’s memory, according to KABC.

“She was just one of those people you could come to for anything. She didn’t judge you. She always had a smile on her face. She cared about you,” student Maddie Ornelas told the TV station.

Other students told the Register that Jacobson’s own father took his life and that the teacher constantly spoke out against suicide.

“What could we have done?” former student Kylie Bentley asked KABC. “What could we have said or something to help her because she would even talk to us about how suicide was not the answer.”

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