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Hackensack Mom Tricks Way Into Bogota School, Pulls Fire Alarm, Flees: Authorities

Marcela Gonzalez, the Lillian M. Steen Elementary School
Marcela Gonzalez, the Lillian M. Steen Elementary School Photo Credit: BACKGROUND: Google StreetView / INSET: BCJ, BOGOTA PD

A Hackensack mom was arrested after she entered a Bogota school, pulled a fire alarm and ran down the street, authorities said.

Marcela Gonzalez, 36, was seized her near the Lillian M. Steen Elementary School on West Main Street shortly after 2:30 p.m. last Wednesday, March 1, Police Sgt. Geoffrey Cole said.

Gonzalez apparently “rang the doorbell for the school stating she wanted to pick her child up,” Cole said.

Then she pulled the fire alarm at the entrance and ran, he said.

Officers Lewis Duenãs and Officer Michael Torres quickly placed Gonzalez into custody, Cole said.

She was charged with circulating a false report of an impending disaster and sent for a mental health evaluation at Hackensack University Medical Center.

Police grabbed Gonzalez the following day after finding her with a knife in a stranger's rear yard, the sergeant said.

Gonzalez -- who'd been arrested in 2014 following what Fair Lawn police said was a shoplifting that turned into a robbery -- was brought to the Bergen County Jail on Thursday.

A judge in Hackensack ordered her release on Friday, with conditions, following a hearing, records show.

Meanwhile, Bogota school officials revised their policy on visitors to the pre-K through 6th grade Steen school and others following discussions with borough police and their on-site officer, Schools Supt. Damian said.

“Moving forward, we ask that if you plan on picking up your child during school hours, you call ahead and have your ID ready,” Kennedy said in a message to parents. “Your child will be escorted to you outside, and you can sign them out.

“If you need to drop something off, please call ahead, and a staff member will meet you at the door to collect the items,” the schools chief added.

“Obviously, there are times during the year when parents will be in the buildings for programs and meetings,” he said, “but we want to try and minimize any risks that put our students and staff in danger. If you have further questions, you can contact your building principal.”

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