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‘Lean on Me’ inspiration Joe Clark dies at 82

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

GAINESVILLE, Fla —  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 house on Tuesday after a protracted battle with an unspecified sickness, his household stated. He was 82.

At crime- and drug-ridden Eastside Excessive College in Paterson, New Jersey, Clark expelled 300 college students in a single day for combating, vandalism, abusing lecturers and drug possession. That lifted the expectations of those that remained, frequently difficult them to carry out higher. Clark’s unorthodox strategies, which included roaming the hallways with a bullhorn and a baseball bat, received him each admirers and critics nationwide. President Ronald Reagan supplied Clark a White Home coverage adviser place after his success at the highschool.

Morgan Freeman starred as Clark within the 1989 movie “Lean on Me” that was loosely based mostly 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 middle 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.

Clark’s instructing profession began at a Paterson grade college in Passaic County, New Jersey, earlier than he turned principal of PS 6 Grammar College.

Clark was born in Rochelle, Georgia, on Could 8, 1938. His household moved north to Newark, New Jersey, when he was 6 years outdated. After graduating from Newark Central Excessive College, Clark obtained his bachelor’s diploma from William Paterson Faculty (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 is survived by his kids, Joetta, Hazel and JJ, and grandchildren, Talitha, Jorell and Hazel. His spouse, Gloria, preceded him in demise.

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