C Clark, the principal who inspired the film ‘Lean on Me’, has died.

Gainesville, Fla. (AP) – Besbat Bat Bat and Bullhorn-run principal Joe Louise Clark, whose unwavering commitment to his students and imaginative disciplinary methods for the 1989 film “Mean on Me,” died at his Florida home on Tuesday. Fighting with an undiagnosed illness, his family said in a statement. He was 82 years old.

Born on May 8, 1938, in Rochelle, Georgia, Clark’s family moved north to New Jersey when he was 6 years old. After graduating from Newark Central High School, Clark received a master’s degree from William Patterson College Ledge (now William Patterson University), an honorary doctorate from Seton Hall Hall University, and an honorary doctorate from the U.S. Sports Academy. Clark also served as a U.S. Army Reserve Sergeant and Exercise Instructor.

Clark began teaching at Patterson Grade School in Essex County, NJ, before becoming the principal of PS6 Grammar School.

He was later appointed principal of crime and drug-free Eastside High School. In a single day, he expelled 300 students for fighting, vandalism, teacher abuse, and drug possession, and constantly challenged those who remained to perform better, exceeding their expectations. Moving from Bullhorn and baseball bat to Hall Lave, Clark’s unconventional methods won him over nationwide and both fans and critics. President Ronald Reagan offered Clark the position of White House policy adviser after his high school success.

Morgan Freeman played Clark in the 1989 film “Lean on Me”, which was loosely based on Clarke’s tenure.

After retiring from Eastside in 1989, Clark worked for six years as director of the Essex County Detention House, a juvenile detention center in Newark. Describing his approach to Assisted High, he laid out the “given law: Clark’s strategy to save our schools.”

They went to Gainesville, Florida.

Clark is survived by his children, Joeta, Hazel and JJ, and grandchildren, Talita, Jorel and Hazel. He was preceded in death by his wife, Gloria.