I want to preface this with explaining my awkward teaching assignment. I teach part-time 2nd grade, so I'm with these kids half the day. Very small, inner-city, Catholic school. Most of the kids know each other, and many are related. My class is mostly boys. There is one class per grade. We do not have a counselor. The ringleader is a student who was held back, he has ODD/ADHD/LD and is definitely my lowest, though, most popular student. His younger brother is in my class,and is part of the bullying problem, and a cousin is also in the class, but not a bully. The student being bullied is my brightest student, but not related to anyone. He is very sensitive, but extremely bright. I think bully student is threatened by how well this student does academically. He's not a socially awkward student, so I don't think that is why he's being bullied. At the first of the year they were friends, but now, basically the bullied student does everything he can to stay in the bully's good graces. The older student is the "leader" in everything. They all defer to him on the playground, in the morning before school, etc. He decides who gets to play and who doesn't, and much of the problem is happening on the playground or during free time. The bullying isn't to the point where it is physical. It's mostly name-calling, laughing at him, or excluding him. This student is SUCH an asset to a tough, tough group. He's really sensitive and sweet, and was SO enthusiastic about school at the beginning of the year. Now his mom says he comes home everyday crying, saying he doesn't have friends . He was my highest reader, and now he's starting to slip. His attitude is really changing...he is becoming angry and you can see him trying to impress the bully group by acting out. He desperately wants to be their friends and they know that. We've encouraged him to become friends with some other students, but he just really wants to be friends with the bully and his brother. Mom and I conferenced today and she is really wanting us to tell her what we are going to do. I've told her we will really watch him before school when some of this is happening. I journal with the students, and have written to him about this in the journal, but he doesn't respond. I address any issues as they happen in class. What else can I do? How can I change this dynamic in my classroom? I do not want the parent to take this student out of my class, and out of our school! Help!