Kimberly Coates, an Oklahoma teacher, was arrested on August 17, 2023, over public intoxication after she showed up to school in an inebriated state. School employers raised the alarm and notified law enforcement after Coates, a third-grade teacher, was found to be acting out of character, suggesting she might be under the influence.
A body cam video, which documented the interaction between Coates, her employers, and law enforcement, initially showed the teacher denying she was drunk on the job.
In the video, Coates' employer voiced his concerns stating that she appeared to be under the influence of medication. Coates excused her behavior and told law enforcement that she takes medication for anxiety, alluding that it might be the reason behind the odd demeanor.
Coates' employer then confronted the teacher and asked if she’s had anything to drink while she was at school. Coates denied drinking on the premises and alleged she consumed alcohol until 3 am the previous night.
She then agreed to submit to a breathalyzer test that registered a .24, which is three times the legal driving limit. The officer who administered the test confronts Coates about the results, to which she admits that she had a drink on the way to work:
"Unless you drank a s*** at like 8 this morning, I don't see how you could still be that high," the police officer told her.
As Kimberly Coates continued to deny drinking on duty, her employer presented a blue cup retrieved from her class and placed it on the table. The cup reportedly smelled strongly of alcohol. Shortly after, a visibly upset Coates was placed under arrest.
Elementary grade teacher Kimberly Coates' drunk video sparks outrage online
The video of Kimberly Coates' arrest for being inebriated at work has been widely circulated online, with many condemning her actions. An Instagram user said:
“Alcoholism is a disease. I hope she gets the help she clearly needs.”
Meanwhile, another user noted:
“Not excusing her actions, but this is likely more common than some people may think cuz I know I had a few teachers that had more than coffee in their cups.”
However, several others sympathized with the elementary grade teacher’s plight, saying that she needed a drink to get through the day. A user wrote:
“Y’all got her stressed. She needed a drink to get through the day dealing with all our kids.”
Another user noted that the incident was a common practice in the workplace and did not warrant an arrest.
“People show up to work drunk every day and as long as they do their job I’m not tripping. As long as it’s not affecting the work.”
Following Kimberly Coates' arrest, in a statement to ABC affiliate KOCO, PPD Sergeant Spencer Gedon said:
“The school got on it fast. As soon as there was a concern about that teacher, they went into action and did what they needed to do, and they were doing everything they could to make sure everyone was safe at the school.”
Kimberly Coates was reportedly transported to the Payne County Jail, from where she was subsequently released.