You are right to stand up and say that bullying is not right, ever. It does not have to be "just a part of growing up."
You might find some resources at:http://www.nonamecallingweek.org
Talk to your child's teacher and counselors, see if they can address bullying whole-group with the class or the entire grade (or school). A good place to start is by showing the animated film Bully Dance (http://www.bullfrogfilms.com/catalog/bully.html
) as a point of discussion. It can be rented for $30 (you could offer to donate this). Reading and discussing the handouts from the NNCW website can help, too. (Maybe you could donate those, too, perhaps a workplace or copy shop would be willing to donate the copies.)
If the school seems bewildered by all of this, a starting point might be to consider asking principal to have the teachers AND STAFF to use the topic as a point of discussion in their weekly professional development meetings, perhaps with an outside facilitator coming in to speak for 15-30mins.
Another strategy that works in a lot of situations in addition to bullying is to teach your child about responding to people directly with "i-Messages." This is a one-sentence statement that describes how you feel when a certain behavior is presented, and what you need to feel better. E.g: “Julie, I feel mad when my pencil is taken without asking. I need to have my pencil back, please.” ... This takes a LOT of practice, but is an excellent tool to work on over the years. It focuses the problem on how the action is making one feel, which many students will respond to.
Last, students under this kind of strain often can be at risk for hurting themselves (e.g. cutting themselves for pleasure), or desperate enough to want to "end it all." Do not be afraid to ask your child, "Do you feel so badly that you have you thought about hurting yourself or killing yourself?" If he answers yes, take him seriously and ask whether he has thought about a plan for this, or a method. If he answers yes to this, take him very seriously and find some professional help immediately. Don't leave him alone. Let his teachers and counselors know so everyone can keep an eye on him while he is getting help.
I have used all of these strategies in my sixth grade class when I was a teacher in a large metropolitan area with students who had all kinds of "issues" and backgrounds. The education takes a long time and you need all of the adults on board with a "no tolerance" attitude (especially the ones on the playground/lunchroom/library). I had to stand strong against bullying -- even against my asst. principal who sometimes wanted to "let this one go, he won't do it again." We send children messages about how to behave through our own behavior as well as through consequences and discussion
...The i-messages are a great strategy for ALL age levels (age 2-102); if you want a worksheet on practicing i-msgs, send me a private message and I can email it to you.