Based on actual events, director John G. Avildsen's LEAN ON ME tells the story of Joe Clark (Morgan Freeman), a tough and radical disciplinarian hired to save the worst school in Paterson, New Jersey.
Eastside High School is in trouble--the once exemplary school is now failing miserably. Graffitti lines the halls, gangs and drugs rule the school, and teachers and students live in perpetual fear.
In one school year, Clark is challenged to turn the snake pit of a school into a halfway civilized place of learning, populated by decent students. To make sure his students pass a basic proficiency exam, Clark resorts to what some believe to be questionable methods--including wandering the halls threateningly with a baseball bat--to restore order to his school.
Clark's extreme tactics also include firing teachers for talking back, forcing students to sing the school song on demand, and locking out students known to be drug dealers.
Freeman delivers an astonishing performance as the tough-as-nails principal who became a national hero and symbol for tough-love education.