Kingsley Community Shaken Up Over Former Middle School Principal’s Arrest

Tuesday morning, Grand Traverse County deputies arrested a former Kingsley middle school principal for heinous crimes.

Karl Hartman faces criminal charges connected to alleged sex crimes involving former students.

His arrest comes as a shock to the community that has known him more than 30 years.

“When you grow up together, you know everything about everybody,” said Bradley Porter junior, who has two daughters in Kingsley schools. “At least you think you do. “I remember him when I was in middle school and he was the elementary school teacher.”

Hartman was the middle school principal for two years, and before that, the elementary principal. He started his career in Kingsley as an elementary teacher.

Kingsley superintendent Keith Smith says he’s done a lot for the schools in his time with the district. The news of his arrest shocked him.

“Mr. Hartman has been a pillar of the community…he’s affected a lot of lives,” said Smith.

The district put Hartman on paid administrative leave ten days ago after he was accused of inappropriate interactions with male students. Hartman retired Monday. Deputies arrested him Tuesday morning.

“Despite knowing that it was coming, it’s still very shocking,” said Smith. “It’s just an arrest, there’s still a process to go through but certainly, that makes it more serious.”

The whole situation is difficult, and Smith points out that the community is grappling with coming to terms with the accusations.

“What makes it especially difficult is when people love and respect both the accused and the accuser, and knowing they both can’t be right.”

Porter Jr. has a fourth grader and pre-schooler in the district. He says he is disgusted by the accusations.

“It’s a blow to the community but people like that should not be around kids,” said Porter Jr. “The community is stronger than that, no matter what he did or what crimes he committed we’re going to bounce back.”

Superintendent Smith says he will bring in additional counselors for students to talk to.

In the meantime, two TBAISD administrators will fill the role of middle school principal.