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 dwelling on Tuesday after an extended battle with an unspecified sickness, his household mentioned in assertion. 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Born in Rochelle, Georgia, on Might 8, 1938, Clark’s household moved north to Newark, New Jersey, when he was 6 years outdated. After graduating from Newark Central Excessive Faculty, Joe Louis Clark acquired 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.
Joe Louis Clark began instructing at a Paterson grade college in Essex County, N.J., earlier than turning into principal of PS 6 Grammar Faculty.
He was later employed as principal of the crime and drug-ridden Eastside Excessive Faculty.
In sooner or later, he expelled 300 college students for preventing, vandalism, abusing academics and drug possession, and lifted the expectations of those that remained, regularly 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. The bat, Clark as soon as defined, was not a weapon, however a logo of selection for college kids, who may both strike out or hit a house run.
President Ronald Reagan provided Clark a White Home coverage advisor place after his success at the highschool. Morgan Freeman starred as Joe Louis 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 Legislation: Joe Clark’s Technique for Saving Our Colleges,” detailing his strategies for turning round Eastside Excessive.
Paterson Superintendent of Colleges Eileen Shafer launched a press release following the announcement of Clark’s demise:
“Joe Louis Clark left his indelible mark on public schooling by being fiercely dedicated to the scholars in his care. He demanded extra from his college students as a result of he believed they might obtain greater than what was anticipated of them. And together with his bullhorn and baseball bat, and Joe Clark courageously stood in the way in which of anybody who dared to attempt to lure an adolescent down the flawed path. Joe Clark was even the topic of a Hollywood film. However in the long run, it’s the many lives Joe Clark influenced for the higher which have turn into his best legacy. Our hearts are deeply saddened by Joe Clark’s passing, and our prayers are together with his household and associates.”
He retired to Gainesville, Florida.
Joe Louis Clark is survived by his kids, Joetta, Hazel and JJ, and grandchildren, Talitha, Jorell and Hazel. His spouse, Gloria, preceded him in demise.