LAURENS, S.C. (WSPA) – A teaching assistant formerly employed at an Upstate middle school was arrested Thursday evening for multiple sexual charges involving minors.

The Laurens Police Department charged 24-year-old Elante Burnette Cooke with two counts of attempted criminal sexual conduct, dissemination of pornographic material to a minor and two counts of criminal solicitation of a minor.

Cooke was employed as a teacher’s aide at Sanders Middle School according to officers.

Police said the charges against Cooke include actions against two separate 14-year-old victims who were students at the school.

Throughout the investigation, the Laurens District 55 Superintendent and Sanders Middle School staff collaborated with authorities to ensure the swift removal of Cooke from his position.

The school district told 7NEWS they were alerted Thursday of possible inappropriate behaviors from a staff member to students and immediately informed the Laurens Police Department.

LCSD 55 Superintendent Dr. Ameca C. Thomas said, “This incident deeply concerns me,
and I want to emphasize that the safety and well-being of our students are our top

The case remains under investigation by the Laurens Police Department.

Any further inquiries should be directed to the Laurens Police Department Detective Bureau at (864) 681-2351.