I was bullied mercilessly from 6th to 8th grades and considered suicide myself many times. I honestly don't know what got me through it all. My parents never knew how I felt because when I tried to tell them, they told me it was my fault for not being able to make friends. I felt like I had no one on my side. Even my teachers were mean to me. I was chronically sick and depressed, often with horrible stomach problems and diarrhea/vomiting, I was so upset. I missed half my school year in 6th grade, too sick to go to school. It was an awful time; I was so lonely and sad.
I was hypersensitive when I was a parent as a result, and I watched my own kids for signs of them being bullied but they never were. They were more confident and able to make friends than I ever was. My daughter's school was unique and had a really nice program to tackle bullying head-on. She was in a group of kids selected to sit with younger kids who had no friends, at lunch. It was a wonderful program cause these kids were suddenly "cool", as the "big" 8th grader was eating with the lonely 3rd, 4th or 5th grader. They also hung out with them at recess, further cementing a relationship that lasted for years and benefitted both the lonely child and the one helping him/her. It boosted the younger child's confidence and the bullying stopped.
Schools and teachers need to step up and do more about bullying. You can't tell me, for one minute, teachers don't know who is being picked on or bullied and they need to stop it. Bullying has horrible consequences. Suicide being but one. Another extreme being the kid(s) going to school and killing classmates. Bullied kids grow up to be nervous adults with no confidence in themselves and those feelings last a lifetime, often stunting potential.
It's never ok to bully, harass or pick on anyone for any reason. Parents need to be accountable, too. If their kids are incorrigible, then they should be removed from the school and sent to an alternative school or homeschooled. They have no right to be there, hurting others. It's often the other way around, however. It's the bullied ones who end up being pulled out of school, which is the opposite of what should happen. It sends the wrong message that the bully always wins and can chase others out when he or she chooses to do so. The victim should not be re-victimized by being stigmatized or removed.
The child bullies often go on to be adult bullies and raise the next generation of bullies and on it goes. It has to be stopped.