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Joe Clark, no-nonsense NJ school principal who inspired movie ‘Lean on Me,’ dead at 82


#Joe #Clark, the no-nonsense, baseball-bat-wielding #New #Jersey high school principal who inspired the 1989 movie “#Lean on #Me,” died #Tuesday at age 82, his family announced.

#Clark died in his #Florida home surrounded by his family after a long battle with an unspecified illness.

#As principal of the crime- and drug-ridden #Eastside #High #School in #Paterson, N.J., #Clark famously roamed the hallways with a bullhorn and a bat to keep students in line. #His unique methods and “tough love” attitude placed #Clark in the national spotlight, earning him both supporters and critics.

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#Eastside #High #School #Principal #Joe #Clark is pictured at a rally by student supporters in #Paterson, N.J. on #Dec. 21, 1987. (#Associated #Press)

“#This is a sad day for our city. #Joe #Clark spoke strongly and carried a big stick. #My condolences to his family, students, and everyone he inspired. #May he rest in peace. ##LeanOnMe” wrote #Paterson #Mayor #André #Sayegh on #Facebook.

#Clark was portrayed by actor #Morgan #Freeman in “#Lean on #Me,” which was loosely based on #Clark’s tenure at #Eastside. #During that time, #Clark expelled 300 students for drug possession, vandalism and fighting, while challenging those that remained to perform better.

#He explained that his decision to hold a bat was a symbol of choice: a student could either strike out or hit a home run.

#Clark was born in #Rochelle, #Ga., on #May 8, 1938, before his family moved north to #Newark, N.J., when he was 6 years old. #After graduating from #Newark #Central #High #School, #Clark earned a bachelor’s degree from #William #Paterson #College (now #William #Paterson #University), a master’s degree from #Seton #Hall #University, and an honorary doctorate from the U.S. #Sports #Academy.

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#He later served as a U.S. #Army #Reserve #Sergeant and #Drill #Instructor, which his family said helped to provide him a foundation for respect and order that would continue over his roughly three-decade-long education career.

#Clark retired from #Eastside in 1989 then worked as director of a juvenile detention center in #Newark for six years. #He also wrote “#Laying #Down the #Law: #Joe #Clark’s #Strategy for #Saving #Our #Schools,” which detailed his methods for turning around #Eastside #High.

#His success in turning around the high school prompted #President #Ronald #Reagan to offer #Clark a #White #House policy adviser position. #Clark was also featured on the cover of #Time magazine and he made appearances on “60 #Minutes” and “The #Arsenio #Hall #Show.”

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#Clark later retired to #Gainesville, #Fla, located about 70 miles southwest of #Jacksonville. #He is predeceased by his wife, #Gloria, and survived by his children, #Joetta, #Hazel, and JJ. #He is also survived by his grandchildren, #Talitha, #Jorell, and #Hazel.

#Eileen #Shafer, superintendent of #Paterson #School #District, shared her condolences in a statement following his passing.

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“#Joe #Clark left his indelible mark on public education by being fiercely devoted to the students in his care. #He demanded more from his students because he believed they could achieve more than what was expected of them. #And with his bullhorn and baseball bat, and #Joe #Clark courageously stood in the way of anyone who dared to try to lure a young person down the wrong path,” said #Schafer, according to #New #York #City’s WABC-TV.

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“#Joe #Clark was even the subject of a #Hollywood movie. #But in the end, it is the many lives #Joe #Clark influenced for the better that have become his greatest legacy,” she continued.

The #Associated #Press contributed to this report



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https://www.foxnews.com/us/joe-clark-no-nonsense-nj-school-principal-who-inspired-movie-lean-on-me-dead-at-82

##Joe ##Clark #nononsense #school #principal #inspired #movie ##Lean #dead

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