GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Joe Louis Clark, the baseball bat and bullhorn-wielding principal whose unwavering commitment to his students and uncompromising disciplinary methods inspired the 1989 film “Lean on Me,” died at his Florida home on Tuesday after a long battle with an unspecified illness, his family said in statement. He was 82.
Born in Rochelle, Georgia on May 8, 1938, Clark’s family moved north to Newark, New Jersey, when he was 6 years old. After graduating from Newark Central High School, Clark received his bachelor’s degree from William Paterson College (now William Paterson University), a master’s degree from Seton Hall University and an honorary doctorate from the U.S. Sports Academy. Clark also served as a U.S. Army Reserve sergeant and a drill instructor.
Clark started teaching at a Paterson grade school in Essex County, N.J., before becoming principal of PS 6 Grammar School.
In this Feb. 11, 1988 file photo, Joe Clark, principal of Eastside High School in Paterson, N.J., stands with rap group Run-DMC before the group gave a concert at the school in support of Clark's way of running his school.
He was later hired as principal of the crime and drug-ridden Eastside High School. In one day, he expelled 300 students for fighting, vandalism, abusing teachers and drug possession, and lifted the expectations of those who remained, continually challenging them to perform better and roaming the hallways with a bullhorn and a baseball bat Clark’s unorthodox methods won him both admirers and critics nationwide. President Ronald Reagan offered Clark a White House policy advisor position after his success at the high school.
Morgan Freeman starred as Clark in the 1989 film “Lean on Me” that was loosely based on Clark’s tenure at Eastside.
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After he retired from Eastside in 1989, Clark worked for six years as the director of Essex County Detention House, a juvenile detention center in Newark. He also wrote “Laying Down the Law: Joe Clark’s Strategy for Saving Our Schools,” detailing his methods for turning around Eastside High.
He retired to Gainesville, Florida.
Clark is survived by his children, Joetta, Hazel and JJ, and grandchildren, Talitha, Jorell and Hazel. His wife, Gloria, preceded him in death.
Colorado has confirmed the first known U.S. case of a new coronavirus strain that was first identified in the United Kingdom.
"Today we discovered Colorado’s first case of the COVID-19 variant B.1.1.7, the same variant discovered in the U.K.," Colorado Gov. Jared Polis said on Twitter Tuesday afternoon. "The health and safety of Coloradans is our top priority and we will monitor this case, as well as all COVID-19 indicators, very closely."
The Colorado state laboratory confirmed the case and notified the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the governor's office said in a statement. The patient is a man in his 20s who is recovering in isolationin Elbert County, outside Denver. He has no travel history and no close contacts. Public health officials were conducting an investigation.
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COVID-19:Fast-moving new coronavirus strain in England raises alarms
Scientists in the United Kingdom believe the variant strain to be more contagious than previously identified strains but not more severe. According to models, it has an increased transmission rate of 70% compared with other variants in the U.K.
It was first spotted in September in southeastern England. The new variant accounted for a quarter of cases in London by November. By the week of Dec. 9, it was responsible for 60% of cases in the city. London and large areas of southern England are under lockdown measures, and dozens of nations have banned travel from the U.K.
The strain has also been identified in France, Italy, Germany, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Denmark, the Netherlands, Canada, Australia, Japan, Singapore, India, Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates. South Africa has identified a strain similar to the one first identified in the U.K., but it emerged independently of the U.K. strain and is not related to it, according to the CDC.
The Colorado lab identified the variant through analysis of testing samples, initially spotting a tell-tale sign of the variant in a PCR test. Scientists then sequenced the viral genome and found eight mutations specific to the spike protein gene associated with this variant, according to the governor's office.
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