Atoka coach suspended after putting student in headlock

Thursday, September 28th 2006, 10:37 am
By: News On 6

ATOKA, Okla. (AP) _ Police have recommended that criminal charges be filed against a high school teacher and assistant football coach who is accused of holding a student in a headlock until he passed out.

The incident, which occurred after football practice, was investigated by police after a complaint from the 16-year-old student's mother.

The district attorney's office, which will determine whether charges will be filed, did not immediately return telephone calls Thursday.

The Atoka School Board met Monday and suspended Craig Viefhaus, 31, from coaching, said Superintendent Mark McPherson. Viefhaus continues to teach.

``It initially started out as horseplay, and it went a little too far,'' McPherson said.

On Sept. 14, the student pinched the coach and the coach responded by putting him in a headlock, Assistant Atoka Police Chief Gene Dodson said.

Viefhaus and the student fell to the ground after the student lost consciousness. The student reported no injuries and played in Friday night's football game, McPherson said.

The head football coach met with the child's parents and McPherson the day of the incident. Viefhaus was told he could not coach or attend football games, McPherson said.

``As far as I know, they get along real well,'' he said. ``There hasn't been any animosity between the two of them.''