High Schooler Suspended for Dressing as a Homeless Man for Drama Class

Say What!? 18

Michael Bodomov was given an assignment for his drama class last month, and he did such a fantastic job with it, he ended up being suspended. The Pittsburg senior at Mount Lebanon High School was to create a character and be that person for an entire day.

The teen dressed up as a homeless man, and he stayed in character so well that school officials didn’t recognize him and ended up calling the cops! Once the police were involved, he gave it up and explained the whole situation. Then he was suspended for two days for insubordination.

Oh my gosh, talk about suffering for your craft! Michael even had a whole backstory on the vagrant he was portraying. His name was John, and he had "a falling-out with his family after he ran over his younger sister.” He was apparently also convicted to give up all his material possessions. No word on whether “John” ran over his fictional sister intentionally, or if it was an accident.

The teenager, who hopes to attend the University of Pittsburg next year and potentially pursue theater and drama, wore sweatpants, layers of coats, and fingerless gloves. He also smeared ink on his face to appear dirty, and wore plastic bags for socks with his mismatched shoes.

He got to school early, and had to bang on a door to get someone’s attention to let him in. The person asked what he wanted, and not breaking character, Michael said he needed to “talk to some people.” He admits that his mumbling and indirectness may have been a bad idea in hindsight, since officials just thought he was some mentally imbalanced dude trying to gain access to the school for some unknown reason.

"At one point, I think I said, 'I might be a student here,'" he said, and a school official responded, "No, you can't be. You look like you're 30, and you haven't showered in 10 days."

Michael thinks that the two-day suspension was a harsh overreaction, but his mom is on the school’s side. "It's a good school," she said. When a mumbling stranger carrying a garbage bag shows up at a school, "Who knows how it's going to turn out?"

Smart mama, in my book. Besides, in a weird way, it shows how much she thinks of her son and his acting ability. If she didn’t think he was convincing, she might not be siding with the school for calling the cops.

Best of luck to Michael -- sounds like he may have a promising acting career ahead of him.

Do you think the school overreacted, or were they right to suspend him?

Image via Duane Osborn/Corbis

activities, behavior, discipline, family, news, school


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Elaine Cox

zero tolerance equals zero thinking

nonmember avatar cleo

Great. A permanent record blemish because the kid is "too good" at something. Way to teach our youth to underachieve!

nonmember avatar Nikra

This was my high school. I totally believe it. The fine arts dept is a huge deal at that school. And it's pittsburgh not pittsburg.

adamat34 adamat34

Wow...we are focusing on the wrong things!!!!

Where r there armed patrol every school needs now!?!

Im calling BS

grous... grousseau

I don't know what he said to the cops or school personal but, I think suspending him was probably going over board. Here a good student, doing his assignment and he gets a red mark on his record. That is never good. I hope he got 100% for a grade, maybe even extra credit for his trouble.

Frank Burns

They suspended him because he came out of character. He was supposed to stay in character for the whole day.

nonmember avatar JustaReader

It's really frustrating that the vast majority of stir writers can't be bothered to edit their articles. Pittsburgh is spelled incorrectly as "Pittsburg" not once but twice in this article.

nonmember avatar Tina

He was NOT suspended for breaking character. He was suspended for insubordination and for breaking a rule that students must identify themselves to an administrator when asked.

work4... work4mickey

He was trying to follpw the assignment, but expecting a student to stay in character while performing his school duties is unrealistic. The teacher who gave this assignment should be disiplined, not the student who was foolishly committed to following it. The student was put in a position where two authority figures (from the school) had given him conflicting instructions and he had no way of knowing which one was best to follow at the time. While he probably thought the fallout from "failing to identify himself" would be a short lived anoyance, failing an acting assignment by breaking character, could hinder his abbility to be accepted into whatever acting academy he had his sights set on. Why is he being punished for folloing an assignment? The teacher should be punished for giving an inappropriate assignment.

Black... BlackRose4970

I don't think they should have suspended him. He was trying to complete the assignment and he did it a little too well. They shouldn't put a permanent mark on his record because of that.


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