Joe Clark, School Principal Who Inspired Film 'Lean on Me,' Has Died At 82

Written by on December 29, 2020

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Joe Louis Clark, the baseball bat and bullhorn-wielding principal whose unwavering dedication to his college students and uncompromising disciplinary strategies impressed the 1989 movie “Lean on Me,” died at his Florida residence on Tuesday after an extended battle with an unspecified sickness, his household mentioned in a press release. He was 82.

Born in Rochelle, Georgia, on Might 8, 1938, Clark’s household moved north to Newark, New Jersey, when he was 6 years previous. After graduating from Newark Central Excessive College, Clark obtained his bachelor’s diploma from William Paterson School (now William Paterson College), a grasp’s diploma from Seton Corridor College, and an honorary doctorate from the U.S. Sports activities Academy. Clark additionally served as a U.S. Military Reserve sergeant and a drill teacher.

Clark began instructing at a Paterson grade college in Essex County, N.J., earlier than changing into principal of PS 6 Grammar College.

He was later employed as principal of the crime and drug-ridden Eastside Excessive College. In someday, he expelled 300 college students for preventing, vandalism, abusing academics and drug possession, and lifted the expectations of those that remained, frequently difficult them to carry out higher. Roaming the hallways with a bullhorn and a baseball bat, Clark’s unorthodox strategies received him each admirers and critics nationwide. President Ronald Reagan supplied Clark a White Home coverage advisor place after his success at the highschool.

Morgan Freeman starred as Clark within the 1989 movie “Lean on Me” that was loosely primarily based on Clark’s tenure at Eastside.

After he retired from Eastside in 1989, Clark labored for six years because the director of Essex County Detention Home, a juvenile detention heart in Newark. He additionally wrote “Laying Down the Regulation: Joe Clark’s Technique for Saving Our Faculties,” detailing his strategies for turning round Eastside Excessive.

He retired to Gainesville, Florida.

Clark is survived by his youngsters, Joetta, Hazel and JJ, and grandchildren, Talitha, Jorell and Hazel. His spouse, Gloria, preceded him in dying.


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