I suppose it depends on where you went to high school. I mean the kids in my HS weren't angels and could be mean or there could be fights or animosity between certain individuals or cliques. But I don't ever remember anyone being singled out for ongoing and repeated bullying. Most people generally just got along and usually just ignored anyone they didn't particularly like. I think it comes down to the cultural mores prevalent in a particular community, whether its a high school, a corporation or town. In my HS I feel like you'd be in a lot of trouble with both the administrators and the student body if you were a bully, someone would definitely come to your defense. It was absolutely not cool to treat people like that and would reflect poorly on the person doing the bullying. If anyone was a candidate to be bullied it was me, I was nerdy and weird, but always felt very comfortable and included in my HS. In fact I wish I could go back sometimes, lol. So maybe just comes down to different time different place making a big difference.
Yeah, it depends on a lot of things. Though I don't necessarily think you could know that it doesn't still happen just because you haven't observed it. If I get harassed by 20 different people (most of whom don't even consider what they're doing bullying, ofc) I'm aware of all 20 people harassing me; but they're only aware of their own interactions with me. So they only see 1/20th of what I see. What looks to you like "fights or animosity between certain individuals" might only be the tip of the iceberg. Ofc, I hope
that you're right and that things are much better now than they used to be. All I know is that most people were probably not aware of the extent of bullying I experienced because I hid it from everyone. Abusers always threaten you with violence if you tell anyone about what they've done to you. This is standard stuff.
I grew up in a small, rural, redneck town in the 80s. Back then, being trans wasn't a thing. There were transvestites (men with a weird fetish), f*****s, and pedophiles/child molesters, and people basically considered them all the same thing. They were basically synonyms. If you were any one of those things, you were all of those things, and you were a pervert. That's just how people thought about it when I was growing up. You couldn't come out back then, because if you came out, people assumed that meant that you molested children. And people felt perfectly justified in talking about how they would kill a person like that if they ever met one. I heard stuff like that all the time. And because people suspected I was "queer", even though I never came out, they felt justified in making my life hell.
People threatened to kick my *** all the time. When guys harassed me in the halls (usually in groups of two or more), other students frequently encouraged them. The ones who didn't just looked the other way. Not one person ever stood up for me. (Though I stood up for myself every time.*) Teachers never intervened, but it's not like bullies threatened you in front of the teachers. And it's not like I could go to the teachers, because "snitches get stitches". (And the teachers wouldn't care anyway, since they didn't like queers, either.)
I used to take a different path home from school every day, and leave at different times, just to throw people off. I got jumped a couple of times (from behind, ofc). One guy held my arms behind my back while the other guy punched me in the stomach. Another guy punched me in the back of the head from behind and when I fell over he got down on top of me and kept hitting me. One guy (the town bully, who had a history of violent assault) threatened to kill me and stalked me for a couple of weeks, following me around in his car. (That guy beat up 3 of my friends a couple years later.)
Another time, a guy and about 7 or 8 of his friends took me and my friend out to a field so the guy could beat me up. He said if I fought back, they'd hurt my friend, so I just curled up in a ball and let him hit me until he got tired. He told me if I told anyone, they'd kill both of us. There's no one to turn to when the police and the school administration think the same way as everyone else. Cops don't care if some queer gets their *** beat. I "had it coming". Just like girls who wear skimpy clothing. So there was no way I was going to get the police or my parents involved. It would have made everything more dangerous. If I pointed my finger at one person, his friends would just beat me up as "payback". If it happened that my "secret" came out to my parents, they might have kicked me out of the house. (And they did kick me out when I was 18, when I dropped out of school, partly because I didn't feel safe there.) It was my parents who told me to stay away from the one "known queer" in town (who I met and who was very nice) because he "probably molested children".
Ofc, things are a lot better now, and I'm glad LGBT+ kids don't have to grow up the way I did, but that was the world I grew up in. I think people have trouble imagining what it was like. When I tell people about the stuff that happened to me, a lot of people don't seem to believe me. And maybe it would have been different in some place more progressive. But my experiences aren't atypical for trans people. Lots of trans people have gone through far worse than I ever have. I was never hospitalized or raped or murdered. But I probably would have been if I'd come out of the closet.
High school was hell. I hated pretty much every minute of it. And now I get to bask in the unrelenting anxiety of being afraid of pretty much every person I meet.
*One time, at a hs dance, a bunch of preppy kids and their gfs came up to me and my friends and the head prep made some comment about us being homosexuals (because we weren't dancing with girls, I guess). I asked him if he was jealous and wanted to cut in. That kind of pissed him off, and he made some kind of comment about how they had 'ladies' to dance with (which made them straight, I guess). And I told him all I could see were a bunch of skanks. Which didn't go over very well. Man was he pissed.
He told me he was going to kick my *** after the dance (ofc) so I snuck out a little early. Ngl, my big mouth definitely made matters worse, but at least I don't have to live with regret about not standing up for myself. I did the best I could, within reason.