A middle-school teacher accused of having sex with at least five boys was fired and remained in jail Thursday after she refused to speak with police about the charges, authorities said.
Police began investigating Allenna Williams Ward, 23, after school officials in Clinton recovered a note containing inappropriate messages, police said.
Ward, who is married, had sexual encounters in the past three months with the 14- and 15-year-old boys at the school, at a motel, in a park and behind a restaurant, according to arrest warrants.
Some of the victims were students at Bell Street Middle School, where Ward taught, authorities said.
Defense attorney Donald Hocker declined to talk about the case Thursday, according to a woman who answered the phone at his office.
School officials were meeting with parents Thursday evening.
Clinton Public Safety Director John Thomas said it was a difficult time for the district. "Teachers are supposed to be role models as well as being those people who take care of and protect our children," Thomas said.
Ward, who was fired Wednesday, is charged with criminal sexual conduct with a minor and lewd acts on a minor, according to arrest warrants.
Clinton, a town of about 10,000 people, is about 60 miles northwest of Columbia.
Last year, an elementary school teacher in school district neighboring Clinton was charged with having sex with an 11-year-old male student.
A trial date for Wendie A. Schweikert has not yet been scheduled.