California school principal dies by suicide at Disneyland: officials

Credit: William T. Newland Elementary School)

If you or a loved one is feeling distressed, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The crisis center provides free and confidential emotional support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to civilians and veterans. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Or text HOME to 741-741 (Crisis Text Line). As of July 2022, those searching for help can also call 988 to be relayed to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

The principal of a Southern California elementary school has died after jumping from a parking structure at Disneyland, according to officials.

Christopher Christensen, 51, died Saturday. According to Anaheim Police, a call came in just before 9 p.m. to a parking structure at Disneyland. When officers arrived, they found a man dead. Sunday, the Orange County Coroner confirmed that man was Christensen. According to officials, Christensen's death was a suicide.

Christensen was the principal at William T. Newland Elementary School in Huntington Beach, beginning this school year. He served a total of 22 years working as part of the Fountain Valley School District, including as the principal of Roch Courreges Elementary, Fulton Middle School and the since-closed Moiola K-8 School.

"Mr. Christensen has been a respected leader in FVSD for over 20 years," Fountain Valley Superintendent Katherine Stopp said in an email to the school community. "His contributions to this community are immeasurable. He was a father, husband, brother, and friend to so many. His passing leaves us devastated and heartbroken."

The district said that it will also be providing counselors and mental health professionals at all campuses throughout the district who are struggling with the loss.

In a post on his Facebook page, Christensen wrote that he had been put on administrative leave from his position after a recent argument with his wife "landed me in jail that night."

Christensen was facing charges of child endangerment and battery, to which he pleaded not guilty. He was due in court on Monday. 

"…Please remember me for all the good I brought to the world of education," he wrote.

Christensen is survived by his wife, three children and two stepchildren.