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Joe Louis Clark
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    (May 7, 1938- )
    Born in Rochelle, Georgia
    Former Principal of Eastside High School (Paterson, NJ; 1982-1990)
    Drew scrutiny for his unconventional disciplinary measures as a school administrator
    Famously wielded a bullhorn and a baseball bat in school hallways
    Made appearances on The Arsenio Hall Show, Crossfire, Nightline, Donahue, and 60 Minutes
    Later served as director of the Essex County Detention House in Newark, New Jersey (1995-2005)
    Portrayed by Morgan Freeman in the award-winning drama 'Lean on Me' (1989)
    Author of 'Laying Down the Law: Joe Clark's Strategy for Saving Our Schools' (1989)
    Father of Olympic track athletes Joetta Clark Diggs and Hazel Clark
    He expelled over 300 students for excessive tardiness/absences.
    His methods were strongly criticized even by some of his colleagues.
    He was accused of letting his newfound fame and celebrity 'go to his head.'
    The movie based on his tenure made it look like the school's education schools substantially improved, when they didn't (it also portrayed him as clashing heads with the Mayor, when in reality he was one of his biggest supporters).
    The film also stressed the point that his methods helped to avoid a state takeover of the school, but that's exactly what happened within a year of his departure.
    The crux of the tension between himself and other administrators apparently came to a head when the school hosted a risqué comedy routine involving male dancers stripping down to their G-strings.
    He wasn't present for the performance, having been away on a movie promotional tour, but colleagues pointed to it as an example of his inattentiveness to the school's day-to-day activity. He was suspended as a result.
    He responded defiantly to calls for his resignation, claiming to be persecuted by 'impish insincere diabolical council member individuals.' When asked if he filmmakers exaggerated his importance at the school, he shrugged 'they underplayed me.'
    He opposed Black History Month, saying 'I don't want to think of myself as significant only one month out of the year.'
    Ronald Reagan called him 'my favorite educator.'
    He made a guest appearance on 227.
    Morgan Freeman had his breakout year portraying him (along with 'Glory' and 'Miss Daisy').
    He received an offer from the Bush administration to work with William Bennett and Barbara Bush on their Anti-Drug campaign.
    He was named one of the nation's ten 'Principals of Leadership,' in 1986.
    He worked while attending high school to support his mother, brother, and sisters.
    He inspired Denzel Washington's character in the film 'Hard Lessons' about contemporary Los Angeles high school principal George McKenna.
    Aside from the 'strip tease' flub, the biggest problem people had with him was his extensive vocabulary (a principal using big words? God forbid).
    He completely reformed the organizational structure of Eastside, drastically lowering student involvement with crime/drugs as a result (raised test scores probably would have risen in time, had he remained).
    His downfall was mostly due to professional jealousy from school board members, not unlike Los Angeles' Jaime Escalante (both had films released within a year of each other).
    His suspension resulted in mass protests among students, many crediting him with giving them the drive to succeed.
    He never actual used the baseball bat on a student, later saying: 'Please, those kids carry Uzis ... I only used [it] because the media doesn't give attention to soft-spoken people.'

Credit: BoyWiththeGreenHair

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