By CBSNewYork Team

PATERSON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A legendary New Jersey high school principal has died.

Joe Clark, the no-nonsense educator who led Eastside High School in Paterson in the 1980s, has died.

The bullhorn and baseball bat-wielding principal was known for his unconventional disciplinary measures.

His tenure at the school became the subject of the 1989 film “Lean On Me” played by actor Morgan Freeman.

Paterson Superintendent of Schools Eileen Shafer released the following statement:

“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. 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. Our hearts are deeply saddened by Joe Clark’s passing, and our prayers are with his family and friends.”

His family says Clark died at his Florida home after a long illness.

He was 82 years old.


CBSNewYork Team