Lean on Me

Student’s name


Word count: 1001

Lean on Me

As the Principal, Mr. Joe Clark joined the music teacher Mrs. Elliot and the students singing ‘lean on me,’ a sense of unity and power filled the school hall. ‘Lean on Me’ is a classical drama film written by Michael Schiffer and released in 1989. It expresses how a change in school management can impact student performance and behavior positively. The movie plot revolves around East High School, a high school in Paterson, New Jersey, on the verge of being shut down by the government due to its student’s inability to reach the bare minimum in their Basic Skills test scores. A new principal, Principal Joe Clark, is introduced to the school to bring order and revive the school’s performance. The movie suggests that he is alienated and disliked by Eastside High School students and teachers because he is tough and strict. The movie ‘Lean on Me’ portrays how a combination of aspects like management change, dictatorship, and discipline begets success and good results in students, consequently giving the school state recognition.

As the movie depicts, the change of school management leads to a good performance from students in a learning institution. Students operating under the same management for years might not feel the need to push themselves to greater heights. They get comfortable in their positions and their daily routines that it becomes normal or boring for them. The management’s rules initially put in place fade from the student’s minds, and they begin to behave unpleasantly. Students become carefree, neglect their responsibilities and purpose of being in school. Some might take it to the extent of dealing with illegal practices like drugs and crime within the institution. The same applies to teachers too. They become reluctant and handle students with less seriousness. Their goals become vague by day, and suddenly they are not working towards achieving their objectives as teachers, which trickles down to unfocused and aimless students.

The introduction of new management and leadership brings a sense of freshness to students and teachers. The rules and regulations governing a school are amended accordingly, and sometimes it leads to the change of the school curriculum based on the new objectives of the school. Consequently, students and teachers are forced to conform to the new regulations and be alert because they don’t quite comprehend the new management and wouldn’t want to be caught on the wrong side. The movie shows how the new principal, Principal Joe Clark, expels 300 students in the East High School for persistence in lawbreaking and drugs abuse. This scene vividly displays how change experienced in a school eradicates bad behavior when new management takes over.

However, the movie fails to view it from the students’ perspective or consider how they cope with the adjustments made in the institution. New management can be overwhelming, especially for students. It is advisable to notify them early enough, carry them through the expected changes that would take place, and counsel them where necessary. These measures ensure that the students and the teachers are well prepared, thus embracing change positively and quickly. It proves effective and advantageous to the students, teachers, and the management in general.

The movie reveals how dictatorship brings order and puts things into perspective for students and teachers of an institution. A dictatorship requires that students and teachers comply with management’s rolled-out regulations without questioning it even if they are uncomfortable. It renders the opinions of teachers and students to the management useless and irrelevant. The management believes it has the best interests of the students and teachers at heart. Therefore, each rule it brings forth and reinforces brings positive outcomes. Although dictatorship deprives individuals of their democratic rights of opinion, it is sometimes effective in a school setting. Students need strict governance to be disciplined and follow the rules. Adverse consequences are usually attached to lack of compliance by students in dictatorship regimes. For this reason, students work towards achieving the goals set by the schools and be in their best behaviors for fear of getting severely punished.

Principal Joe Clark displays dictatorship in East High School by demanding that all students and teachers stop doing whatever they are doing when the school anthem starts. He even suspends Mr. Darnell, an English teacher, for picking up trash when the school anthem is ongoing. Furthermore, Clark chains the school as a security measure against invasion from suspended students without consulting the teachers, parents, or the town mayor. Regardless of not following the right way, this measure actually works and keeps the students safe from attacks from their expelled peers. Dictatorship might not be a leadership desired by many, but it effectively brings progress, especially in learning institutions.

Discipline in students is likely to yield good results. Disciplined students respect their teachers and adhere to the school rules. They understand their purpose of being in school and are goal-oriented. Such students do not need to be pushed by their teachers to do their assignments perfectly and on time. Furthermore, they are not easily swayed by peer pressure to break the law because they are aware of the consequences. Consequently, their grades are excellent or above the required standards. They meet their targets and continue to grow academically and socially, unlike the rude and indisciplined students. Rogue and unruly students constantly get into trouble and miss important lectures while doing their punishments. The movie displays the good fruits of discipline through the success of more than seventy-five percent of students in their Basic skills test.


Change is inevitable in our lives. Its outcomes can be unpredictable, but it mostly brings positive results to individuals or institutions. It is an opportunity to start afresh and reflect on past events. ‘Lean on Me’ paints a vivid picture of why we should be receptive to change in various aspects of our lives. We can notice progress in our engagements through change; therefore, embracing it seems more reasonable since we can’t escape it

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