'Lean On Me' Principal Joe Clark Dead Aged 82 | 22 Words

Joe Louis Clark, the real principle that inspired the movie Lean On Me, has died and the world is mourning his loss. He was eighty-two.

The world lost another legend on Tuesday.

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Tributes for the late educator have been pouring in...

For those of you that aren't aware, Joe Clark was considered one of the best educators in the nation.

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He was the principal of a troubled New Jersey high school in the '80s and gained attention for his less-than-traditional approach to teaching students the meaning of discipline.

He definitely wasn't soft in his approach.

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A baseball bat in one hand and a speakerphone in the other, Clark really left an impression on everyone he came across.

On one occasion, he even expelled three-hundred students all at once...

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For disruptive behavior, fighting, and drug use on-premises.

And then 5 years later, he then expelled another sixty students...

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Who he later described as “leeches, miscreants and hoodlums." Of course, that earned him an investigation from the Paterson school board, but those charges were later dropped.

Clark re-gained control of a poor, largely Black and Hispanic student body...

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Denouncing "affirmative action and welfare policies" and “hocus-pocus liberals" with his intense grip on the system.

However, despite his critics, the success of his techniques were mesmerizing.

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He managed to instill confidence and pride in his students, and in turn, this improved test scores and behavior at the school.

His work also earned him praise from President Ronald Reagan and Reagan’s education secretary, William J. Bennett.

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But that's not all. He also earned himself a spot on the cover of Time Magazine in 1988 holding his baseball bat.

“Is getting tough the answer?" the headline read.

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“School principal Joe Clark says yes — and critics are up in arms."

Clark became known as an icon.

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He went onto have a movie dedicated to his efforts called Lean On Me where his "character" was played by the legend that is Morgan Freeman.

The school drama became a staple in the lives of audiences.

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“I refuse to let a bunch of obdurate, rebellious board members run me out of this town that I’ve worked in so assiduously for twenty-seven years," he told The Washington Post in 1988.

The tragic news of his death saddened his fans and admirers.

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His family revealed that he had passed on Tuesday at his home in Florida. This was due to an "undisclosed illness."

RIP Joe Clark, you will truly be missed.

Thoughts and prayers are with his family. 2020 has been a turbulent year filled with many ups and downs. Keep scrolling to see an overwhelming round up in the most powerful photos...