Joe Clark May Not Be There Anymore, But School Still Thinks Outside The Box

PATERSON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A New Jersey high school made famous for its unorthodox approach to discipline is once again sparking controversy — by sending tardy students to a trailer.

The quest to clean up Eastside High School is chronicled in the classic 1980s film “Lean on Me” starring Morgan Freeman as then-Principal Joe Clark.

Flash forward two decades and school leaders are once again trying a radical technique to cut down on bad behavior.

This time – it’s called the “WEBB,” an acronym that stands for, according to sophomore, Jose Gonzalez, “We expect better behavior.”

1010 WINS’ Eileen Lehpamer Reports From Paterson

The WEBB is a trailer set outside the school building.

“It’s a trailer. It’s for bad students,” senior Johnny Navarette told CBS 2’s Kathryn Brown on Thursday.

And for the past year and a half, students who are late are locked out of class and sent to the trailer for the remainder of the period.

“I think the trailers are completely waste of time because it takes the learning out of students,” one student told 1010 WINS’ Eileen Lehpamer.

School officials say they are supposed to use the time to study for graduation exams, but some students who have been say it’s a waste of time.

“They just make us sit in there and wait a whole block when we could be learning,” senior Selena Rodriguez said.

The policy has been controversial from the start, but Principal Zatiti Moody said he needed to do something drastic to end what was becoming a routine and very disruptive problem.

Still,  he’s acknowledged this policy may be too extreme, writing in an e-mail to school staff last month that said: “The practice … of locking our doors and sending all tardy students to the WEBB has caused an alarming failure rate for students,” and added, “Many staff members have expressed their concern with students missing out on extended periods of learning.”

“If the reason you come here is to get your education and stuff, then why pull them out?” sophomore Luisa Aristy said.

School officials declined to speak with CBS 2’s Brown on camera Thursday, but the principal has said publicly he has softened enforcement of the WEBB recently, and is working with teachers and staff here to re-evaluate the policy.

Students say they also get sent to the WEBB for infractions like not wearing their uniforms or being disruptive in class.

Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below. …

Comments (28)
  1. elizabeth says:

    If students really cared that the trailer “wasted” their time, they would show up on time and behave themselves. The students who end up in the WEBB trailer have learned exactly what to say to adults to garner approval, but they absolutely will NOT behave in the way they know is expected of them. Thank goodness this school has the guts to put them in “detention” for a short period where they are NOT taking away from the learning of all the students who DO care enough to get to class on time and behave well while there. STICK TO IT or their next “detention” experiences will be joblessness, jail, or worse.

  2. Rich says:

    So….next year Angelica will graduate from High School. I will not question if her literacy level is where it should be as a Junior or whether her common sense is lacking in the area of attention to detail (spell check if you are representing a school), but I too will applaud the school in question. To sit and do nothing about the problem is truly the only wrong answer. Though your decision may be frowned upon by people who have not clue what it’s like at ESH, at the ed of the day….you tried to fix it. I wonder what the comments section would say back when they were teaching African Americans how to read and write… Just a thought. Good Luck East Side High 🙂

    1. Rich says:

      sorry, for my corrections, but I’m not representing a school, lol…. sentence 3rd from bottom should read “people who have no clue what it’s like at ESH, at the end of the day…

  3. vicki says:

    I have always told my kids that if they get into trouble in school, or don’t do their work, the teachers and getting detention would be the least of their troubles. If they were late for classes, I would not need the teachers to put them in the trailer. I would do it myself and tell them “too bad, so sad”. Sorry, you do something wrong, you get punished for it. Thats called real life, get used to it. Now my kids are in college, work, and live on their own because they learned how to follow the rules and take care of themselves without expecting everything handed to them.

  4. Dan says:

    I really don’t see the problem. They did this when I was going to high school back in the 90’s. They sent us to detention, we spent the period there and then went on with the rest of our day. On top of that, if you were sent 3 times, within a 2 week time frame, you were held after school for another hour of detention. That in it self got people to get to class on time.

  5. Jessie says:

    Born and raised in Paterson, I will admit it has it’s ghetto sections. However, who are you to say half of those students will end up in jail?! Did you attend Eastside? I did and I can say first hand that all those students have potential. What school did you attend? Did you not learn about ignorance? Someone should put your ass in a trailer and teach you a thing or two. By your comment, I can see you’ve received little to none.

  6. Angelica De Los Santos says:

    your ignorant and should stay offline for most kids in paterson are actually smart enough to show that your wrong. thankyou and have a great day.

  7. Sarah says:

    Bec if you continue to give me lip I will put you in the trailer for the rest of the school day while I sit in the library and throw back donuts filled with hot jocklar

  8. Concerned parent says:

    Children are a product of the parents, no respect or hometraining equals no respect at school. If they don’t want to be there then don’t show up and ruin it for the other kids that want to learn and make something of themselves. I say kudos to the principal/school.

  9. SuckItUp says:

    And when you are late for work continually, you get FIRED, same reasoning!

  10. Angelica De Los Santos says:

    To correct all those leaving comments and not knowing what they are talking about my name is Angelica De Los Santos and i am a Junior at eastside high. the WEBB i think is good because some kids WILL rish to class not to get put in iss. At the same time its bad they send you in the WEBB because your walking in the hall ways without a pass, if a teacher doesnt like you the send you there, they find the most rediculous reasons to send you in. the rules have also changed if you are not in uniform you are not only is there for the whole school day but your in there until 4pm. The women from the WEBB are VERY rude and theres nothing you as a student can do about it because they will just write you up on disaplinary grounds. its not like every other highschool , its like every other highschool times 10. Sometimes if kids are not let in class because of tardys they will just leave until next period. In conclusion if you think its such a great thing ENROLL INTO EASTSIDEHIGH !

    1. Dee says:

      Please stay in school as long as possible. Your grammar is awful!

    2. Justified says:

      Here’s one for you Angelica, if you do what you should you want have to worry about the trailer. You can’t save everyone. Remember to be a LEADER and not a FOLLOWER, it will take you along way in life.

    3. John Schwendler says:

      If your education up to this point has resulted in your inability to correctly write a simple paragraph, there are bigger problems than tardiness. While I appreciate your taking the time to write in, your writing skills leave much to be desired. I suppose that between having been raised in day care, and today’s instant-gratification technology, your generation has never been taught how to communicate. Your letter is a sad commentary on you, your legal guardians, and your teachers.

      1. IMTHATITCH says:


    4. radgast says:

      Angelica, your writing does need improvement, but at your age it’s not totally unexpected. Certainly your point is typical of a student and there is some merit in your perspective. The question most people who like to have ansered is if the kids care so much about their education why was this needed in the first place. In college some won’t admit you to class late. As an employee lateness has consequences. I am not a fan of this trailer, but its assumed the adminstrators didn’t do this for fun. Sure, it’s probably being weilded to easily against students by teachers at their perceived judgement of certain students or their own moods. The question is what is the student body going to do to work with the school to end it. Send a delegation to discuss, alternative disciplinary actions, and an acceptable rate of tardiness or other reasons of concerns.

    5. elizabeth says:

      Dear Angelica – We have a system similar to the WEBB at the middle school where I am a volunteer. Kids are sent for tardiness, dress code violations, lack of hall passes, etc. If they are sent to “ISS” (in school suspension) three times, they get a day of out of school suspension. A fourth trip to ISS gets them 3 days of out of school suspension and a mandatory parent conference to re-admit. A fifth trip gets a disciplinary hearing at district level, which can get them expelled from school for good. It’s tough, but the world has rules and the sooner people learn them, the easier life tends to be.

  11. Migdalia Aponte says:

    The trailer is nothing but a holding cell. Not a very good message. That trailer could be used for something constructive. Let them come into the school and report to their class. Allow them to catch up with the lesson. It is not the only school that has attendance problems. Eventually, they will either make it or not be able to cut the mustard. Then it is on them. Their transcript will eventually speak for itself.

    1. Sam says:

      Why would you do that? These students are consistently coming to class late, otherwise such a drastic policy wouldn’t happen. They’re allowed to have hall passes, it just needs to be a legitimate reason. By letting them “catch up”, you accomplish nothing. The tardy student becomes entitled, the prompt student has their time wasted by the interruptions and repetition of information.

    2. griley says:

      This just enables them. What about the rest of the class that is on time? Why should tehy be distrupted? In college, a majority of Instructors I had dod not let anyone in late and after 3-4 icidences they dropped you. Better to learn this way than in college or a job where the end result can be much harsher. As for the comments that the ladies there are rude and it is a waste of time, this is what you make of it. It can be a waste or productive time, upto you. As for rudeness, usually a two way street.

  12. Jennifer says:

    How about…the school officials are doing this because the kids are intentionally showing up late. Before airing a story like this, look at the climate of the school and the students who attend. They’re seniors in high school, and most are probably legal adults…do you really think they don’t know the penalties for being late? Stop defending the kids because they are fully conscious of the decisions they make, especially when they make the choice to show up late on their own accord. The students you chose to interview for your story just PLAYED YOU OUT…they are NOT interested in learning…just the 15 seconds of fame.

  13. Peter says:

    Good reporting but I must sat that I remember from my earliest journalism class…the professor who ulimately became a channel 2 anchor…chided us to remember the basics…think like a detective…there is always a reason for everything that happens…and also remember he who the what the when and most importantly the why….my final on camera would have been the following question…..
    Why can’t these students find the decipline to get to class on time …prepared to be educated…I wish I would have heard the field reported ask that….come to think of it …good question in my humble opinion

  14. Sarah says:

    So what? It’s “in school suspension”. Plenty of schools have things like this. In my high school, it was in a trailer as well. For those saying it takes away from learning…no, you coming in tardy and disrupting class takes away from learning.

    1. Jennifer says:

      And if you listened closely to the story, students only had to remain in the trailer for the remainder of the period…not the entire school day.

      1. Sarah says:

        I actually didn’t listen. I read it because it was a news article. I can actually read and don’t need to watch the video to understand like yourself. Your comment has nothing to do with what I said anyway. “In school suspension” doesn’t have to be all day. Troll somewhere else loser.

        1. Bec says:

          I agree to your original comment however I do feel you are being mean to Jennifer how do you know she wasn’t replying to someone else’s comment? Be nice and grow up. You may need to spend a little time in the trailer as well.

          1. Jessie says:

            lmao! Too funny Bec. Loving it!

        2. Sam says:

          Pretty sure she was just supporting your point. That was not a sarcastic “and if you listen closely”, she was just getting ready to counter someone’s argument to your initial point. Chill out…

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