Uniform requirements:
(Kindergarten – Fifth Grade students)
Shirt: Yellow navy polo or yellow collared shirt (long or short-sleeved)
Pants: Navy slacks
Belt: Black
Jumper (Girls): Navy jumper
Ties: Navy
Socks: Navy or black socks or tights
Sweater: Navy long-sleeved V-neck sweater, Navy sleeveless sweater vest, Plain navy
Optional Items
• Ralph Bunche School Sweatshirts
Prohibited Items
• Any non-RBS approved uniform
• Bracelets, rings, or large earrings
To purchase uniforms, please visit:
• Lazarus Department Store [264 W 125th Street, New York, NY 10027 212-222-6023]
• Kid City[308 East Fordham Road, Bronx, NY 10458, 347-577-6249
• Cookies [567 Melrose Avenue, Bronx, NY 10455, 718-585-0800,

Please contact Griselda Hernandez, Parent Coordinator for more information:
(212) 666-6400 ext. 185 or email GHernandez4@schools.nyc.gov

October 15, 2013
Dear Faculty and Ralph Bunche Community Members,

The debate continues whether or not the RBS should or should not enforce our
uniform policy. There are a myriad of reasons for enforcing our uniform policy. School
uniforms have been shown to increase students’ focus on learning, reduce incidents of
bullying, improve school spirit, economics, safety and adhering to the Chancellor’s
Regulation. Therefore, when all RBS students are dressed in regulation uniforms, there is
more focus on learning and meeting the expectations of being college and career ready.
School uniforms cause students to spend more time thinking about what they are
learning in class and less attention is given to the latest fashion trends or status symbol
clothing. Many teachers at the RBS believe that when students wear the school uniform,
they feel more erudite, behave accordingly, and more professional. Educators and experts
who are pro-school uniform believe that the uniforms contribute positively to students’
behavior and positive self-concept.
One of the most obvious reasons for enforcing our uniform policy is that by having all
children dressed the same, there is a decrease in bullying and teasing. Clothing has become
a symbol of status and children begin to develop a false sense of their worth on whether they
are wearing or not wearing high fashion trends or status brands. Wearing the school
uniform levels the playing field, there is less opportunity for children to be picked on or
shunned for their clothes.
Many parents have expressed their concern when visiting the campus because they
feel that Columbia Secondary School students and KIPP Star students are easily recognized
by their school uniforms, however, they were unaware or unsure that the RBS had a uniform
policy in place too. We believe that when the RBS student body are dressed in uniforms,
they develop a stronger team mentality. When they are all dressed alike, they feel proud of
their school and are more likely to reflect the values of the school community. This promotes
a strong sense of school-wide pride.
From a recovering economy, to economic shutdowns, or loss of jobs it has become
more affordable to invest in buying a few school uniforms instead of a changing school
wardrobe. School uniforms are designed to stand up to day-to-day wear and frequent
washing so many parents find that they can get away with buying limited uniform sets.
Many parents have argued for a long time that the school’s administration must do more to
enforce the uniform policy.

The most notable concern for enforcing our uniform policy is the safety of all RBS
students. We share our building with a middle school (KIPP Star 5 -8) and a middle-high
school (Columbia Secondary School 6 – 12) age students. At all times all personnel on the
campus must be able to distinguish which school a child attends and where they should be on
the campus. One of the details brought up recently about a student who left the school
without permission was that school’s safety agent making an assumption that the child
attended another school on the campus and therefore was able to leave the campus. A
student dressed in their yellow and navy will always be more easily recognized as a Ralph
Bunche Scholar.
There are some who might argue that enforcing the uniform regulation at the RBS
limits freedom of expression. They argue that enforcing the children to adhere to an already
existing policy stifles their creativity or challenges their first amendment rights. This point
fails to take into consideration that our uniform policy is reasonable and accommodating.
One example, is a student may be permitted to wear a head scarf for religious reasons or if
they want to wear a button to show support for a political cause. On the other hand, there
are a lot more ways to teach children how to express oneself besides clothing.
Public schools without a school uniform policy still have rules and guidelines on what
clothing is and is not permitted in school. There are usually rules regarding visible logos,
offensive text on clothing, and modesty issues and more. Administrators and teachers are
then responsible for monitoring students’ attire. This is of course avoided when all students
are in the RBS uniform.

We talk everyday with our students about developing into a citizen that will attend
college and be career ready. An added benefit to wearing the school uniform is that students
learn to dress professionally. School uniforms look more like the clothing that one would
wear to a high paying job, and therefore we are teaching students to prepare to dress for
those careers. Enforcing the uniform policy here at the RBS is important because it teaches
our children that it is always important to follow the rules. Furthermore, the uniform policy
when not followed is a violation of the Citywide Disciplinary Manual (A02, Level 1 Failing to
wear the required school uniform). Chancellor’s Regulation A-665 states, “Once a school
leadership team has voted to adopt a uniform policy that uniform policy will remain in force
until the School Leadership Team (“SLT”) votes to rescind the uniform policy.”
I must conclude that enforcing the uniform policy at the Ralph Bunche School is
beneficial to all involved. There is more focus on learning, less incidents of bullying,
improved school-wide spirit, less economic hardships, addresses safety issues, and teaches
students about the importance of following the rules. Enforcing our uniform policy does not
violate a student’s freedom of self-expression. Thank you for your continued support.
Reginald Higgins, Principal