Aren’t there just days? When you just want to stop the work facade. Or stop pretending. Or just give up because of the monotony. Or feel undervalued. There could be many reasons for the blues. Sometimes, these compounded bad days might turn into one day of a complete train wreck. And that is precisely what happened to a once wholesome third-grade teacher.
Kimberly Coates teaches third grade at Perkins-Tryon Intermediate School in Oklahoma. On August 17, 2023, the school’s superintendent pulled her out of the classroom, and was taken for interrogation by a police officer when she was noticed displaying odd behavior. She was found intoxicated amidst young children.
Who Is Kimberly Coates?
Kimberly Coates is a 53-year-old primary school teacher at Perkins-Tryon Intermediate School in Perkins, Oklahoma. Last Thursday, after the classes started at 8:25 a.m., a few school staff noticed unusual behavior from a teacher. Coates was teaching a class of 8-year-olds.
A school resource officer wrote in the police report, “I noticed Kimberly had red, watery eyes and a thick, slurred speech. Kimberly had a hard time completing sentences.”
When the school’s superintendent, Doug Ogle, noticed Coates’s demeanor after the class started, he pulled her out of the class. He also noted that Coates was fine before the morning class. He raised these concerns and immediately alerted the authorities.
What Did the Oklahoma Teacher Kimberly Coates Do?
At first, Ogle calmly explained to Coates why she was being called for interrogation. He told her that they suspected her of “possible intoxication.”
Coates denied that she was drunk. Sgt. Spencer Gedon was not having any of it, given her conduct was just too obvious. He told Coates that she would have to go through a breath analyzer test, and if she weren’t drunk like she claimed, the BAC would display 0s. But when she did the test, her BAC level showed 0.24 reading, which is three times the legal driving limit of 0.08.
In the video, the officer also carried out the Nystagmus Test on Coates, which indicated that she was under the influence of alcohol.
She then spewed a story stating that she consumed “half a box of wine” the previous night and ended up drinking until after 3 a.m.
Sgt. Gedon immediately pointed out the discrepancy in her story–
“Unless you drank at s–t ton at like 8 o’clock this morning, I don’t know how you could still be that high.”
Ogle then pulled out a blue cup and put it on the table–
“No more games, right? What is in that.”
She replied, “My juice.”
By this time, the officer was totally done with her and cut her off instantly–
“Want to try again? That there is wine,” he asked after smelling the cup.
She again replied, “I drank out of that yesterday. I didn’t drink out of it today. I drank out of that coming to work yesterday.”
Coates sensed that no one was buying her story and finally gave in, admitting that she drank while teaching.
The officer informed her that she was going to be arrested for this. Coates broke down and begged for forgiveness–
“Please, please, I can’t do this,” she sobbed. “Please, no, please!”
Ogle told her this was completely unacceptable behavior and might have endangered the children and influenced the impressionable minds. He said, “You’re under the influence at school with kids. That cannot happen.”
Coates was booked at the Payne County Detention Center for public intoxication.
The superintendent later revealed that she was given a choice to resign from the school, but it was certain that she wouldn’t be continuing as a teacher anymore.
Netizens were conflicted by such harsh punishment, while some believed she had a drinking problem that needed addressing. Also, parents would never tolerate that their kids are subjected to such an environment. Here are some reactions to Coates’s arrest–
“She hates that job! Period. When I worked for my last employer during the pandemic I hated that job due to the people I worked with who were stressful! I used to drink and lay in bed. Thank God I got displaced. Truly I pray she finds something else that will bring her joy.”
“People coming to work drunk is very common. 1 of the Unit Clerks in my department at the hospital I work at was caught drinking while AT WORK! He got canned too.”
“Is being intoxicated at work illegal in Oklahoma? I know it may go against school policy and should be fired but an arrestable offense seems a stretch. Maybe it was for admitting to driving drunk.”
“Pay them a decent wage and maybe they won’t drink ..and where is your union rep and lawyer no way is any of these people interrogating me without representation ..”
“Personally IF she’s a cool teacher. I’d have put her class in with mine and found a way to sneak her home or call a family/friend to come get her IMMEDIATELY. Never know what a persons going through.”
“I’ll be honest, I don’t understand why the teacher #KimberlyCoates was arrested; I mean, it’s not a crime to drink at school- it’s wrong, but it’s not a crime. She should’ve been fired, not arrested. If I was her, I’m suing the school district & the police department.”
What is your take on this situation? Do you think Coates should have been detained? Or should she be just fired?
Let us know in the comments section below.