An instructional assistant at a Florida high school has reportedly complained about her co-worker’s parking space that quotes a verse from the New Testament, saying it offends her as a Jewish person.
Marina Gentilesco, who works at Wiregrass Ranch High School in Pasco County, Florida, said she has been angered every day she passed by her co-worker’s parking spot that is painted with Philippians 4:13, which reads, “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me,” according to WFLA-TV.
“I feel like it’s attacking me as a Jew,” Gentilesco told the station, adding that “it brings me to the verge of tears, because it brings me back to the 6 million that perished. Six million perished because of our faith — because we’re Jews.”
As a descendant of Holocaust survivors, Gentilesco takes personal offense to the painted Bible verse in the parking lot. She wished the person would change the verse to something that is inclusive of all religions and not just those in Florida who are Christian by faith.
She also told WFLA “they survived — we didn’t.”
Gentilesco added to the station that she wouldn’t mind the verse in a place like a church — but that letting it be on school grounds is going too far.
“You put it on a state-funded property, I’m not OK with it,” she told WFLA.
The station said Gentilesco brought up her grievances about the Bible verse to the school’s principal, who then checked in with the school district.
Pasco County Schools won’t be removing the Bible verse, WFLA said.
“It’s not a violation,” the district’s Public Information Officer Stephen Hegarty told the station. “This is personal expression.”
Hegarty added to WFLA that “there is no proselytizing going on; it’s not compelling students to do anything one way or the other.”
What’s more, he added to the station that the painted Bible verse on the parking lot space doesn’t reflect what students are being taught.
“It has nothing to do with instruction,” Hegarty told WFLA. “It’s just a teacher expressing themselves just like they might wear a crucifix on their shirt.” He added to the station that “teachers and students are free to express themselves.”
Watch the video report below for more details: