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Famed Eastside High Under Fire For Sticking Tardy, Disruptive Students In A Trailer

PATERSON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- A New Jersey high school made famous for its unorthodox approach to discipline is once again sparking controversy -- by sending tardy students to a trailer.

The quest to clean up Eastside High School is chronicled in the classic 1980s film "Lean on Me" starring Morgan Freeman as then-Principal Joe Clark.

Flash forward two decades and school leaders are once again trying a radical technique to cut down on bad behavior.

This time – it's called the "WEBB," an acronym that stands for, according to sophomore, Jose Gonzalez, "We expect better behavior."

1010 WINS' Eileen Lehpamer Reports From Paterson


The WEBB is a trailer set outside the school building.

"It's a trailer. It's for bad students," senior Johnny Navarette told CBS 2's Kathryn Brown on Thursday.

And for the past year and a half, students who are late are locked out of class and sent to the trailer for the remainder of the period.

"I think the trailers are completely waste of time because it takes the learning out of students," one student told 1010 WINS' Eileen Lehpamer.

School officials say they are supposed to use the time to study for graduation exams, but some students who have been say it's a waste of time.

"They just make us sit in there and wait a whole block when we could be learning," senior Selena Rodriguez said.

The policy has been controversial from the start, but Principal Zatiti Moody said he needed to do something drastic to end what was becoming a routine and very disruptive problem.

Still,  he's acknowledged this policy may be too extreme, writing in an e-mail to school staff last month that said: "The practice ... of locking our doors and sending all tardy students to the WEBB has caused an alarming failure rate for students," and added, "Many staff members have expressed their concern with students missing out on extended periods of learning."

"If the reason you come here is to get your education and stuff, then why pull them out?" sophomore Luisa Aristy said.

School officials declined to speak with CBS 2's Brown on camera Thursday, but the principal has said publicly he has softened enforcement of the WEBB recently, and is working with teachers and staff here to re-evaluate the policy.

Students say they also get sent to the WEBB for infractions like not wearing their uniforms or being disruptive in class.

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