Crazed worker arrested for after-school incident at Lemon Grove - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Crazed worker arrested for after-school incident at Lemon Grove Academy

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - Counselors were on campus at Lemon Grove Academy Friday, after a bizarre incident landed a school employee behind bars.

San Diego County Sheriff's deputies said after-school assistant, Linda Lira, 31, barricaded herself in a classroom at Lemon Grove Academy with children and stripped down after they were freed. Deputies said she was high on drugs talking about the devil before taking off her clothes.

The incident happened after school on Wednesday, March 25 on the campus in the 7800 block of Golden Avenue in Lemon Grove.

“She had actually kept the students in the classroom against their will,” said Lt. Chris May, San Diego County Sheriff's Department.

Jennifer Fox, a mother of one of the students, received a terrifying and bizarre text message from her son's friend trapped inside a Lemon Grove Academy classroom.

"Please send this to dad ‘some teacher was yelling there was a devil spirit in here. She did weird stuff with her hands and started throwing chairs. When kids started running out she started laughing. I'm really scared,'” said Fox.

Sheriff's deputies said Lira barricaded 14 students, in the fourth through sixth grades, in an after-school program against their will.

"She was saying things like they don't have to follow rules anymore. I do believe she may have referenced Satan,” said Superintendent Ernie Anastos.

That's when the principal's son grabbed Lira's walkie-talkie which alerted teachers to her erratic behavior.

Students were evacuated then Lira became worse. Sheriff's deputies say she started ripping off her clothes and putting them back on several times. She was treated at the hospital and released.

Lira was charged with a misdemeanor for using drugs after 4:00 Wednesday afternoon. Then around 2:00 p.m. the next day, she returned to the school and tried to apologize. At that point, sheriff's deputies arrested her.

Eventually Lira was taken to the hospital where she was checked out and cited for DUI of drugs and released. Deputies arrested her Thursday on 28 felony counts. Fourteen counts of child endangerment and 14 counts of false imprisonment.

Jail records show her arraignment has been scheduled for March 30 at 1:30. She is being held in the Las Colinas Detention Center. Her bail amount has been set at $2,100,000.

Lira was with the district for only two months. The superintendent said Lira passed drug testing and a background check when she was initially hired. He says the students have undergone counseling. The school may look into creating even stricter school procedures for new hires.

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