News & Culture

Oklahoma teacher accused of being drunk in class on first day of school enters inpatient treatment

Kimberly Coates was given the chance to resign on Aug. 17. While it’s not clear if she did resign, schools officials have confirmed that she is no longer a teacher at Perkins-Tryon Intermediate School. PAYNE COUNTY JAIL PHOTO

PERKINS, Okla. — The former Oklahoma teacher accused of being drunk in class on the first day of the 2023-24 school year has entered inpatient treatment.

Kimberly Coates was charged with public intoxication and taken into custody by a Perkins police officer on Aug. 17, after Perkins-Tryon Intermediate School Superintendent Douglas Ogle suspected that she was under the influence of alcohol.

Coates then missed an Aug. 22 court date because she was in a treatment facility, according to Payne County court records. She is due back in front of a judge on Oct. 9.

According to body camera footage, Coates denied drinking on Aug. 17, and claimed she took a sleep aid and consumed alcohol the night before, which is why she said a breathalyzer showed her blood-alcohol content was more than twice the legal limit.

“I noticed Kimberly had red watery eyes and a thick slurred speech,” the arresting officer said in a report. “Kimberly had a hard time completing sentences. Kimberly said she drank half of a box of wine last night and quit drinking at about 3 am this morning.”

The investigation began around 3:20 p.m., Aug. 17, when Ogle spoke to Coates and noticed she was acting differently than she acted earlier in the day, the report says.

As seen in the bodycam clip, the officer and Ogle suspected that Coates was drinking in her classroom throughout the day.

Coates was given a chance to avoid criminal charges if she called someone to pick her up, the footage shows. Instead, Coates refused to call for a ride and was placed in handcuffs.  She was booked into the Payne County Jail and released on her own recognizance.

Public intoxication is a misdemeanor that comes with possible penalties of up to 30 days days in jail and a fine of up to $100.

Coates was also given the opportunity to resign. While it’s not clear if she resigned or was terminated, school officials confirmed that she is currently not a teacher at Perkins-Tryon Intermediate School.