Lean on Me: Parental Responsibility for School Failures

About this sample

About this sample


Words: 1224 |

Pages: 3|

7 min read

Published: May 24, 2022

Words: 1224|Pages: 3|7 min read

Published: May 24, 2022

In the film 'Lean on Me,' the common social issues portrayed are resolved strangely. The new principal, Joe Clark, was advised to transform the entirety of the school; he did simply that, but in a way that would be prohibited in today's society. Mr. Clark was egomaniacal, demanding, and cruel, but he had the student's best interests at heart. Students in the film direly need structures and a sense of direction; the high school consisted of minority students who were exposed to and faced with the issues of drugs, gangs, violence, and poverty. Joe Clark took on the position because he was the only one who can make a strong comeback within the school and the students. The school system has failed to educate these students; therefore, students cannot pass the state basic skills exam, and are dropping out of school, and or getting involved in criminal activities. The underlying problem is that students are lacking inspiration and motivation, dignity, morals, and values, so they do not have anything to look forward to. They need to be taught how to aim high and reach their fullest potential which starts with getting an effective education. Students will not know what is out there unless they are taught and exposed to it.

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Joe Clark implemented changes by calling to student assemblies, teacher meetings, parent-teacher meetings, and school board meetings. During the teacher meeting, Mr. Clark takes action by reassigning teachers' positions regardless of how they felt. The past few years have been chaos, so he is persistent in turning the school around effectively and beneficially for students. Joe Clark has zero tolerance for the nonsense; therefore, he does not refrain from speaking and acting crazy toward the teachers or students. He demands that the school is clean of graffiti, cages, and other factors such as delinquents and drug dealers, that contribute to the destruction of the school. I believe Mr. Clark is taking the correct approach because you have to enforce a change to see change. As he talks to the teachers, he states 'You tried it your way for years and your students can't even pass a minimum basic skills test; that means they can hardly read.' He informs every teacher and administrator they have failed at their jobs, to educate the students, which is why they are in this predicament. Teachers, as well as parents, are a reflection of students. If teachers do not take pride in their jobs by motivating students, preparing efficient lesson plans, or staying after hours for students in need of help, students are not going to strive to excel in school; in fact, they are going to down other paths that might cost them their life due to the deficiency in support and motivation.

Following the teacher meeting, the student assembly takes place where Joe Clark expelled all the troublemaking students and enforced new rules. Although it may seem a bit brutal, he has the intention of shaping his students into well-disciplined and educated individuals. He then proceeds to tell the students 'if you do not succeed in life, I don't want you to blame your parents. I don't want you to blame the white man. The responsibility is yours… You are here to learn; to work for what you want. The alternative is to waste your time and to fall into the trap of drugs, crime, and death.' I believe Joe Clark emphasized the importance of taking responsibility as well as the initiative of their actions because that is what defines your character at the end of the day. He executed a plan that involves structure and guidance for the students; if they still end up failing, they cannot blame anyone but themselves.

An emergency parent-teacher meeting was summoned after the expulsion of many students. One particular parent was infuriated that her child was expelled but instead of taking responsibility as a parent for the failure of her child, she accused the school. I firmly believe the failure of students starts at home. If there is no guidance at home, then how do you expect them to behave, reach their fullest potential, get a job, or succeed? Mr. Clark expresses that 'one bad apple spoils the bunch' but in this case, there are hundreds of ‘bad apples' that can ruin it for the rest. He asserts, 'It's a war to save 2,700 other students who don't have the basic skills to pass the state exam.' As a parent, what are you doing to help your child succeed? Do you make them study, help them with their work and or hire a tutor? Parents are quick to point fingers, but they are not doing their jobs as a parent to make sure their child is elevating in all aspects. As stated by Joe Clark, 'The only way to get anything done is to get everyone involved.'

Establishing a tutoring program will motivate and encourage students to get help; however, I think tutoring services should be run by students. Students may not understand the methods provided by a teacher but can comprehend something explained by their peers. There should be tutoring services offered for every subject. Students who excel in specific subjects can volunteer to be a tutor, for an entire semester, and earn extra credit. This service will be provided every academic year from the beginning to the end of each semester. For the students who struggle with their work, it should be required to go to tutoring once a week until there is some form of improvement. I think a possible barrier may be that some students are embarrassed or ashamed to get that extra help because they feel like they are going to be judged. Well, in that case, teachers should encourage them to seek help by offering extra points to their final grade for accumulating a certain number of tutoring hours.

Enforcing every student to read two books of their choice per semester and write two separate book reports will solve the issue of failing the state proficiency exam. Reading is fundamental; it enhances knowledge and vocabulary, stimulates the brain, improves writing and thinking skills, and many other beneficial factors. In most high schools in the United States semesters range from 16-20 weeks. The book reports will be assigned at the beginning and in the middle of the semester. Students will have eight weeks, two months, to read and complete the book reports and turn in it as an assignment for a grade. However, there may be some potential barriers including student involvement in extracurricular activities and other obligations as well as some students simply struggle with reading.

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In order for students to succeed, they need structure inside and outside of the classroom. Every student should strive to do great in school, but that cannot happen if parents and teachers are not doing their job. Some students need more help than others; spending more time with those students can improve their performance in school. If parents and teachers are not putting in the effort to lead students to success, how do they expect them to get anywhere? The issues of drugs, crime, and poverty can be reduced if students’ self-esteem and confidence are elevated; they will most likely value life a lot more than they do now. As far as passing the state proficiency exam, students need to receive the proper education.

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Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

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Lean on Me: Parental Responsibility for School Failures. (2022, May 24). GradesFixer. Retrieved February 24, 2024, from
“Lean on Me: Parental Responsibility for School Failures.” GradesFixer, 24 May 2022,
Lean on Me: Parental Responsibility for School Failures. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 24 Feb. 2024].
Lean on Me: Parental Responsibility for School Failures [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2022 May 24 [cited 2024 Feb 24]. Available from:
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