Bullying hits home for OLTL's John-Paul Lavoisier

Who wasn’t teased at least once while growing up? This author was, often, and so was OLTL’s John-Paul Lavoisier (Rex) who is now playing the dad of a bullied kid. We asked him about his experience.Soap Opera Weekly: Were you ever teased as a kid?

John-Paul Lavoisier: There are two moments in my life when something has happened to me that’s actually affected me anything close to what Shane’s going through. Once was when I was in high school, I guess Austin‘s [Williams, Shane] age. I was, by some of the football players, considered a band geek/band nerd. One of the star football players, who was a year or two older than me, would pick on me. Not to the point where it got physical, but he would name-call me in the hallway. He would make fun of me playing the drums, or he would make fun of the band. Nobody in the band ever stuck up for us, and for some reason he chose to make fun of me. He would walk past me in the hallway and just call me names and stuff, and it was hurtful. I was always kind of embarrassed. I was always afraid to say something back to him because I didn’t want it to get physical. Side note, that individual is actually in prison right now for 25 years because of drug charges and pistol-whipping a constable in our hometown. That’s beside the point, but he actually is in prison now.

Weekly: Kids can be so mean to each other.

Lavoisier: The first time that I ever got bullied was the only physical time. I’ve never thrown a punch at anybody in my life, and the only punch I’ve ever had thrown at me was I was in fifth grade — the kid shall remain nameless. There was a kid who was mad at me because I still believed in Santa Claus and he didn’t; I genuinely believed in Santa Claus, and my parents did everything they could to make sure that I believed in Santa Claus as long as possible. Whenever I wrote my Christmas letters to Santa, they always responded; they always had someone respond in different handwriting. Every Christmas morning, some of the presents were from Santa, some of the presents were from Mom and Dad. They made a video one time of Santa actually putting presents under the tree — it was actually my dad was dressed up in the Santa outfit with my mom recording. They did everything they could. I presented all these facts to this kid to prove to him that Santa was real, and because he couldn’t change my mind, he punched me. I was standing in the lunch line; he came up to me and went, “Hey JP, do you still believe in Santa Claus?” And I went “Yeah.” And with that he slugged me in the gut and I fell to the ground. I could barely breathe and I wanted to throw up. I cried and I was all upset.

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