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Sanders aid arrested, charged with attempted sexual misconduct

Elante Cooke

A teacher’s aid at Sanders Middle School has been arrested by the Laurens Police Department and charged with attempted criminal sexual conduct and other crimes involving minors at the school.

Elante Burnette Cooke, 24, of Laurens was booked Wednesday into the Laurens County Detention Center pending a bond hearing. Cooke is charged with two counts of attempted criminal sexual conduct involving two victims, dissemination of pornographic material to a minor and two counts of criminal solicitation of a minor involving two separate victims.

“Our children represent one of the most vulnerable segments of our population, and it is imperative that they are protected by all members of our community,” said Laurens Police Chief Keith Grounsell. “When this trust is violated by an individual in a position of public responsibility, swift action is necessary, and accountability must be pursued.”

According to the LPD,  Laurens County School District 55 superintendent’s office and Sanders Middle School staff collaborated closely to ensure the swift removal of Cooke from his position at the school.
District 55 officials said school staff  at Sanders was notified of the alleged misconduct Thursday.
“This incident deeply concerns me, and I want to emphasize that the safety and well-being of our students are our top
priorities,” said District 55 Superintendent Ameca Thomas. “I want to assure our parents, guardians, and the entire community that we always strive to maintain a safe and secure learning environment for all students, and we will not
tolerate any actions that jeopardize their safety or violate their trust. The reported behavior is abhorrent and completely unacceptable.”

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