When I was in high school, most people in that environment evaluated others by how smart they were. I know some smart kids who were truly smart but they also knew very well how to intimidate others make others feel less smart in front of them. I think the key to the end of such intimidation is changing our value system.
My experience is that it has nothing to do with being smart, but with people trying to be seen as better. People that feel the need to push others down so they are higher (in the eyes of people). I know a lot of smart people behaving small and not so smart people behaving big. Same goes for physical greatness, better in sport etc. They just try to be accepted as the better person, whether they are or not. I even think that they are usually not the best or smartest, otherwise they did not need to behave this way.