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

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

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