RIVERVIEW, Fla. — “Don’t hate! Don’t hurt! Don’t harm!”
Officer Lawrence White works and raps for Hillsborough County Schools. He travels from school to school rhyming to students about tolerance, kindness and the evils of bullying.
On this day he stopped at Boyette Springs Elementary in Riverview. Over a hundred kids are packed into a multi-purpose room to hear him drop the beat.
“Back in 1995, I wrote my first song,” says White. “It was called ‘Don’t Fight, Just Get Along.’”
White worked for the Tampa Police Department for 27 years as a school resource officer at local high schools.
Now he is working directly for the schools. While he still protects students, he beats out a musicial bonus.
“Ignore! Ignore! Ignore that foolish stuff!”
Officer White says kids are harder to reach these days. Social media makes them more guarded and jaded.
Yet, he’s constantly reminded of the difference he’s making.
“My wife and I were at dinner, and the server said, ‘Officer White!’ Then the family behind us, they hear this and they say, ‘Hey, Officer White!’ It feels good," says White. "But you have to stay humble.”