Credit Union Shutters Unsafe Student Branch
Citing safety concerns for staff, the $90.8 million Buffalo Metropolitan FCU said it is closing a student-run branch at Bennett High School in Buffalo, N.Y. at the end of the school year on June 26.
The credit union notified the high school in a May 28 letter from Angelina Incorvaia, the credit union’s marketing director.
“After this school year, the student-run credit union branch program will conclude,” she wrote a letter posted by The Buffalo News on Scribd.com. “The recent fight at the school involving the teacher and other fights in the hallways heard by staff while at the branch has brought concerns about the safety of credit union staff. Management has expressed apprehensions and asked we bring financial literacy to the students in other avenues.”
Last month, WIVB.com news station in Buffalo, aired a video of a Bennett High School teacher who was struck when he attempted to break up a fight between two female students. When the teacher attempted to get between the students, punches landed to his head, back and shoulder, according to the news report.
According to The Buffalo News, an anonymous survey of teachers conducted by the Buffalo Teachers Federation earlier this year, found that teachers “cited weapons, drugs and near-daily fights at the high school and contended that it is not safe for students or teachers.”
The Buffalo School District said it regretted the credit union’s decision to close the branch, claiming conditions at the high school have been improving, according to a report in The Buffalo News.
“It is highly unfortunate that the management of the Buffalo School District has made the decision to withdraw from Bennett High School based upon the incidence of isolated altercations cited in their letter,” the statement read.
The Buffalo School District claimed there have been fewer incidents at the high school this year than there were over the last three years.
“A discussion with administrators at Bennett would have borne out this fact, but unfortunately no such effort was made,” the school district statement read. “It is disheartening to know that the students will no longer have this program at their access, while we will look for ways to supplement students’ financial literacy through core subjects and electives.”
In her letter to the school district, Incorvaia said that the credit union wants to continue to provide students with financial knowledge, but through other venues such as out-of-school workshops and classroom presentations.
When contacted by CU Times, Incorvaia referred questions to Buffalo Metropolitan FCU President/CEO Patricia Edinger, who did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment. The Buffalo School District also did not immediately return a phone call and email seeking comment.