School janitor accused of 'violent' outbursts

Posted at 7:38 PM, May 16, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-16 23:21:20-04

"District employees currently fear for their safety." That's just one of several claims uncovered in court documents filed by the San Marcos Unified School District against a janitor who is now on paid administrative leave.

The janitor, who works at San Marcos Middle School, is accused of having a long history of "aggressive and hostile behavior" towards students and staff, according to the district's request for a temporary restraining order.

That order has been granted on a temporary basis, pending a June 17th court hearing. Until then, the janitor, 52-year old David Goosen, must stay at least 100 feet away from all campuses within the district.

The court documents filed by the district say in early April Goosen became enraged when he arrived at work and couldn't find his mop. The district claims he confronted two co-workers and the school principal. When another janitor tried to give him an extra mop, Goosen is accused of throwing it. He was sent home after the incident.

Two days later, Goosen allegedly confronted a co-worker, then began following him home.

That co-worker told supervisors he feared Goosen because he had made previous comments in reference to a school shooting. The documents on file with the court say Goosen stated he "would often go to the desert to practice shooting" and that "this type of event could happen to individuals at San Marcos Unified School District." The name of a school principal was mentioned.

The district claims, "Respondent has a history of aggressive behaviors towards students and staff on campus."  It references incidents dating back as far as 2003, when Goosen allegedly got in an altercation with staff at Woodland Park Middle school about changing the signage on the school's marquee. The documents state he used profane language before storming out of the office. The document claims that on two occasions Goosen broke alarm panels by punching them with his fists.

The document states, "Respondent's aggressive and erratic behaviors continued to escalate when he transferred to Alvin Dunn Elementary School." During the 2012-2013 school year, the principal had several interactions with Goosen to discuss his poor judgment when dealing with members of staff. The principal claims in court documents that Goosen became "very hostile, angry and upset" when she asked him about emptying containers.

In May 2013, Goosen is accused of kicking a student for not sitting properly in the cafeteria. He was given a written reprimand, to which he responded in writing, "He was flagrantly disrespectful," for not heeding the staff warning to sit correctly.

The following school year Goosen transferred to San Marcos Middle School. That same year, a co-worker claimed he made comments about a school shooting. He is also accused of screaming at a student who asked him if he needed a driver's license to operate a golf cart on campus.

“Filing a restraining order is great but if this is a recurring problem why is he still employed with the school district," asked Shannon Schmidt, whose daughter goes to San Marcos Middle School. Schmidt and other parents told Team 10 two weeks after the district filed for a restraining order they still hadn't been notified.

We asked if parents felt they had a right to know about the action the district was taking against one of its own.   “Absolutely," said Stacy Jackson who was picking her daughter up after school. "We should know who it is, if you don’t know what he looks like then let us know because if we see him then we need to report it, and the same with the children, too."

The day after Team 10 spoke to parents, the district sent parents an automated phone call to notify them. It references "media interest" as the reason, but the statement was vague about the allegations. A parent called Team 10 to say she was furious about the district releasing such limited information.

This is the scripted statement sent to Woodland Park parents. A similar script was read to parents with children at Alvin Dunn Elementary and San Marcos Middle School.

"I wanted to share with you the following media statement released by the District Office regarding an employee, David Goosen, a Night Custodian, placed on administrative leave. This information has not yet been released, as it is being handled at Human Resources, but due to media interest we are sharing this information at this time."  

"When district administration was made aware of the recent allegations surrounding this employee, they immediately commenced a thorough investigation and the individual was placed on administrative leave. As safety and security is of paramount importance to our district, we reported our findings to law enforcement and implemented other precautionary measures we believed to be appropriate. Although we can’t comment on the specifics of the investigation, we’re closely monitoring this situation and cooperating with law enforcement."

"Please know, at no time did Mr. Goosen make any threats towards Woodland Park or any of its employees. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me."

Goosen appeared in court Friday, asking the judge to delay a hearing on the temporary restraining order until next month, so he could prepare his case.

After the hearing, Assistant Superintendent Henry Voros told Team 10 putting Goosen on paid administrative leave and filing for a temporary restraining order were "precautionary measures" to keep students and staff safe.

Voros: "There have yet to be any allegations that our students have been in any jeopardy at any time in this matter."

Team 10: " Wait a minute, one of those (documents) says that he was accused of kicking a child. "

Voros: “I’m talking about the current allegations that are being investigated. There are no allegations that any of our students are in jeopardy at any point.”

Team 10 contacted the San Marcos station of the San Diego County Sheriff.  A sergeant there told us the recent accusations against Goosen had been "looked into" but no charges were filed, or expected to be filed.

Goosen told us he will talk to us when the court case is over to tell his side of the story. When he does, we will post it here.

RELATED: Team 10: Is California hiding teacher misconduct history from parents?