OSU-Tulsa graduate leads local charge against bullying
OSU-Tulsa alumnus Steve Hahn has dedicated himself to dispelling the myth that bullying is just part of being a kid.
As community education manager at The Parent Child Center of Tulsa, Hahn said he saw the long-term consequences of bullying and felt the need to do something about it.
In 2012, Hahn established the Anti-Bullying Collaboration (ABC), a group of more than 30 community partners that supports bullying prevention and school safety legislation throughout the state.
“People argue that bullying has been around for a long time and kids will eventually grow out of the behavior. Or they say they were bullied as a kid and they’re fine. But abusive behavior is never okay,” he said.
Another misnomer is that bullying is something only kids do.
“I’ve talked to adults who have been bullied in their workplace, their neighborhood or even their church,” he said.
According to the National Education Association, bullying is more lethal and occurs more frequently than it did just 20 years ago.
“You have to ask why,” he said. “This is not just a school issue. It’s a community issue.”
As director of ABC, Hahn works directly with school districts to provide prevention training for teachers and administrators. During his tenure, he has learned that greater change happens at the state policy level.
In 2013, Hahn was instrumental in the passage of the state’s Safe Schools and Bullying Prevention Act in 2013.
The most critical thing the law does is define what bullying is and what it isn’t. Not every conflict, argument or disagreement between students is bullying, he said.
According to the law, bullying is identified when there is a pattern of abuse and intent to harm.
The law also requires a designee at each school site to investigate every report of bullying and annual training for all school administrators and staff.
Hahn earned a bachelor’s degree in pastoral ministry at Oral Roberts University in 2000. After working with schools in drug and violence prevention for a number of years, he decided to earn his master’s degree at OSU-Tulsa to be recognized as an educational leader and advance his career.
Because of OSU-Tulsa’s flexible class schedules, he was able to work full-time and graduate with a Master of Teaching, Learning and Leadership in 2008. He credits Dr. Hongyu Wang, professor of curriculum studies, with his success.
“She is a great professor and so encouraging. It was nice to have one-on-one time with her to ensure I really knew the material,” Hahn said.
The degree has led him to many opportunities, including creating the training curriculum for the coalition and leading regional training sessions for school administrators and staff throughout Oklahoma.
“When working with students, we teach kids not to just be friendly, but to be a friend,” Hahn said. “A tremendous power against bullying is friendship.”