An instructional assistant at a Florida high school reportedly complained about her coworker’s parking space quoting a New Testament verse, saying it offends her as a Jewish person.
Marina Gentilesco, who works at Wiregrass Ranch High School in Pasco County, Florida, said she grew angry every day she walked past her coworker’s parking lot, which is painted with Philippians 4:13, which reads, “I can do all things.” in Christ”. which makes me stronger,” according to Fox 59, a local Fox affiliate.
“I feel like he is attacking me as a Jew,” she said, according to the outlet.
Gentilesco, whose parents told him stories of the Holocaust, said quoting an epistle from Saint Paul brings back painful memories.
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“It brings me to the verge of tears, because it brings me back to the 6 million who perished,” Gentilesco said. “Six million perished because of our faith, because we are Jews.”
Gentilesco said he wouldn’t mind such a Bible display in a church, but thinks it’s out of place on state-funded school grounds.
“You put it on a state-funded property,” he said. “I do not agree with that”.
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Gentilesco reportedly went with his concerns to his principal, who then went to the district. Citing free speech, Pasco County Schools decided not to order the removal of the Bible verse.
“It’s not a violation,” said Stephen Hegarty, Public Information Officer for Pasco County Schools. “This is a personal expression.”
Hegarty noted that “there’s no proselytizing” and that the parking spot “doesn’t force students to do anything one way or the other.”
Noting that the parking space had nothing to do with the instruction, Hagery noted that “it’s just a teacher expressing himself as if he had a crucifix on his shirt.”
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“Teachers and students are free to express themselves,” Hegarty added.