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Criminal Investigation of West Fargo Teacher

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West Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - A criminal investigation involving a West Fargo teacher has been kept a secret for months.

Language arts instructor, Aaron Knodel, is a West Fargo and North Dakota Teacher of the Year. He was put on paid administrative leave for a half-year.

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This is video of his teacher of the year ceremony and celebration back in September 2013.

Details on what type of crime he's being investigated for were not available.

West Fargo Schools Superintendent David Flowers notified school board members back in February of the investigation.

This is what Knodel had to say after receiving one of his awards.

Aaron Knodel/West Fargo Teacher in Criminal Investigation: “like every one of my colleagues I come in here every day and just do my job and try to make sure that I can teach my students to the best of my ability and give it my best effort every day, nothing I do is unusual compared to what every other teacher does.”

The West Fargo Police Department says it has forwarded a case involving West Fargo Schools on to the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation.

West Fargo Police Chief Michael Reitan says he can't comment on the nature of the investigation, but did say there are a few different scenarios that could BCI involvement.

The first, a conflict of interest within the police department.

The department would also forward the case if there was a "perceived" conflict of interest.

The second scenario, if the case includes other possible jurisdictions, or if the crime being investigated did not take place only in West Fargo.

And the third and final scenario would be if the case required more resources than what West Fargo PD has at their disposal.

The Bureau of Criminal Investigation has not commented on the investigation, saying the bureau does not provide information about investigations or confirm it is investigating a specific case.

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Brian Abel
Brian joined WDAZ in October of 2014, after reporting and anchoring at WDAY in Fargo since October 2013. He currently co-anchors the 6 and 10pm WDAZ News weekdays, and co-anchors the Saturday 6 and 10pm WDAY/WDAZ simulcast news. He was born and raised in Grand Rapids, Michigan and graduated from Western Michigan University with a degree in Journalism. Brian has traveled across the country as a spokesperson for the automotive industry. He has also lived in Los Angeles, working in entertainment before pursuing his career in broadcasting. It’s experiences like these that give him a unique perspective when reporting. Brian is a Michigan Wolverines fan with an avid interest in politics and golf.  He is thrilled to be sharing stories with the Greater Grand Forks community working at WDAZ and looks forward to hearing any of your comments, concerns and story ideas.
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