PATERSON, N.J. -- Fiery Principal Joe Clark, the disciplinarian whose battle with the city school board has drawn national attention, stirred up more controversy with published remarks that two black school board members deserve the guillotine for failing to support him.
"I feel sorry for him. I really do," said board Vice President Elease Evans, one of the board trustees Clark attacked. "This name-calling has got to stop so we can get on with educating those kids."
The Eastside High principal, known for patrolling school corridors with a bullhorn and baseball bat, has been under attack for his recent unauthorized suspension of 66 students and for violating a court order by chaining fire doors closed at the school to keep drug dealers out.
A judge dropped contempt charges last week after Clark agreed to obey the fire code. The school board is considering disciplinary action in response to the suspensions.
Clark, who is black, said in a story published in The Record of Hackensack that Evans and trustee Marion Mitchell, who is also black, are "despicable beings worthy of the guillotine." The newspaper had called the principal for comment on a letter from Paterson Mayor Frank X. Graves seeking to heal the breach between Clark and the board.