Erratic school worker pleads not guilty to false imprisonment an - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Erratic school worker pleads not guilty to false imprisonment and other charges

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EL CAJON (CNS) - An after-school assistant who allegedly barricaded herself and students inside a Lemon Grove classroom, then took off her clothes as she struggled with school staff who had come to the children's rescue, pleaded not guilty on Monday to false imprisonment and other charges.

Bail was set at $500,000 for Linda Lira, 31, who faces four years and four months in prison if convicted, said Deputy District Attorney Jessica Paugh.

Lira was working at Lemon Grove Academy at 7885 Golden Ave. just after 4 p.m. Wednesday "when she began acting bizarre and barricaded herself and several children in a classroom," said San Diego County sheriff's Lt. Chris May.

Students used Lira's unattended campus radio to call for help, he said.

"Staff briefly fought with Lira to gain access to the classroom and remove children from her reach," May said. "After students were evacuated, Lira exhibited multiple signs and symptoms of narcotics/hallucinogen use. While struggling with other school staff, Lira removed her own clothing as one act in a series of bizarre acts."

When deputies arrived, Lira was barricaded alone in a classroom, where she upended desks, threw things around and undressed and dressed several times, according to the lieutenant. Deputies took her into custody and took her to a hospital for an evaluation, May said.

"As part of the investigation that continued the following day, multiple student victims were identified and interviewed to determine the true nature of all of the witnessed offenses," May said. "The school employees and officials worked very closely and cooperatively with the sheriff's department to bring the incident to a peaceful resolution."

Lira is charged with three counts of false imprisonment and one count of resisting arrest. She will be back in court April 9 for a readiness conference and April 13 for a preliminary hearing.

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