CLINTON, S.C. (WLTX, AP) -- Authorities say a 23-year-old female middle school teacher was arrested Wednesday, accused of having sex with five boys in locations including the school, at a motel, in a park and behind a restaurant.
Clinton Public Safety Director John Thomas says some of the 14- and 15-year-old victims were students at Bell Street Middle School in Laurens School District 56, where Allenna Williams Ward taught. Others went to a different school.
"The families are very upset and my heart and prayers go out to the victims. It is a horrible thing and they are going to struggle with this for a while," Thomas said.
Investigators say there could be more victims.
Warrants show Ward is charged with five counts of second degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor and six counts of lewd acts on a minor. The incidents occurred between November and continued up through the past few weeks.
"The community is awfully upset and I would think that those emotions are going to spill over to the schools, and the parents. The children are our upmost importance, and right now, we're making sure they get what they need," Thomas said.
Thomas says police began investigating Ward after a note containing inappropriate messages was given to school officials on February 22. According to investigators, the note was passed during class to one of the boys, then thrown in the trash.
"The note was just inappropriate. For a teacher to pass a student a note--with the severity of the note's message--that sent up red flags and we knew we had something deeper to look into," said Thomas, on how the case unfolded.
School district officials say they held an emergency meeting and fired Ward from her job. Thursday morning, bond was set at $110,000: $10,000 for each of the eleven charges. Terms of her bond include no contact with the alleged victims, no cell phone use, and if she posts bond, Ward is under house arrest.
Her next court hearing is scheduled for April.
Laurens School District 56 issued the following statement on Ward's arrest. You can read it by