Analysis Of ' Lean On Me ' By Joe Clark

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In the film "Lean on Me", Joe Clark, a fictional version of the real Mr. Clark who was the principal at an inner-city high school in Paterson, New Jersey, is the ultimate example of an authoritarian leader. In the movie, Clark approaches his job at a decaying academic setting with single-minded goals: to clean up the school, physically and academically, in order to help the students who have potential to graduate and to get rid of the ones who are destined to fail, according to his perceptions. Clark 's leadership style has been both widely praised as successful and a model for similar such schools, and has also been criticized for its bullying tactics. This paper will discuss Clark 's methods of leadership, his style and tactics as…show more content…
In addition, Clark was able to challenge the white power structure that was essentially in charge of the city in order to reach the common goal of the school for both its teachers and students. In the movie, he demonstrates a ruthless but well-meaning manner of discipline which earned him both respect and disdain from other administrators who were familiar with his leadership style. Clark 's leadership style was tough, but it was also combined with a degree of charm at times that enabled him to attract fierce loyalty from his students. They referred to him as "Crazy Joe" at times, but in several instances students came to him for help; for example, in the film, a Latino girl approaches to whisper to Clark that she needs a winter coat, and the principal promises to get her one, as he writes her name down on a small memo pad. Joe Clark holds himself up as the supreme ruler of the school, proclaiming that in this building, "everything emanates and ultimates from me--nothing happens without me". When he sees something that offends his sensibilities, he snaps at the janitor to remove it "expeditiously." If he finds a locked door, he rattles it until it is opened by a teacher, and he snaps at her in the presence of her students. His leadership style is characterized by a belief that if something is wrong, he must be tough, and get it fixed immediately (Bowen,

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