A teaching assistant at a US high school has complained about her colleague’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 was angry every day she walked past her co-worker’s parking spot which is painted with Philippians 4:13, which stands reads, “I can do anything. through Christ who strengthens me,” according to local Fox affiliate Fox 59.
“I feel like it attacks me as a Jew,” she said.
Gentilesco, whose parents told him stories about the Holocaust, said the quote from an epistle of St. Paul brought back painful memories.
“It brings me to the brink 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 she wouldn’t mind such a Bible display in a church, but thinks it has no place on the grounds of a publicly funded school.
“You put it on publicly funded property,” she said. “I don’t agree with that.”
Gentilesco’s principal sought advice from the district after venting his frustrations at the school.
Citing freedom of 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. “It’s a personal expression.”
Hegarty noted that “there is no proselytizing going on” and that the parking spot “doesn’t require students to do anything one way or the other.”
Noting that the parking spot had nothing to do with the instruction, Hegarty said “it’s just a teacher talking like he could wear a crucifix on his shirt.”
“Teachers and students are free to speak up,” Hegarty added.
Originally published as ‘It attacks me’: US high school worker complains about ‘anti-Jewish’ Bible verse in co-worker’s parking spot