School employee accused of barricading students in classroom, undressing

A 31-year-old employee of the Lemon Grove School District was arrested on suspicion of refusing to let students leave their classroom, then barricading herself in the room and taking off her clothes, according to the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department.

Linda Lira, an after-school assistant at the Lemon Grove Academy, a school for students from kindergarten through sixth grade, was arrested and booked into jail on 14 counts of child endangerment and 14 counts of false imprisonment.

The incident at the school in the suburb east of San Diego began Wednesday with Lira “acting bizarre” and barricading herself and the children in a classroom, according to Sheriff’s Lt. Chris May.

Students became frightened and used a campus radio to call for help. Staff members “fought with Lira to gain access to the classroom and remove children from her reach,” the Sheriff’s Department said.

Lira was showing “multiple signs and symptoms of narcotics/hallucinogen use,” including throwing things and “undressing and redressing several times,” the Sheriff’s Department said.


After sheriff’s deputies arrived, Lira was taken to a hospital for evaluation, then booked into Las Colinas women’s jail.

Deputies spent Thursday interviewing students. Social workers and therapists were at the school to provide counseling.

Lira is being held without bail pending arraignment set for Monday, according to jail records.