Jewish Florida high school employee complains about ‘offensive’ New Testament Bible verse painted on a coworker’s parking space: District says teachers are free to express themselves however they like

  • Marina Gentilesco, who is Jewish, works as an instructional assistant at Wiregrass Ranch High School in Pasco County, Florida
  • Gentilesco says a Bible verse painted in the parking lot makes her angry every time she sees it and asked for it to be removed
  • School principal consulted the District who declared teachers to be free to express themselves however they liked 
  • The verse in full reads: ‘I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me’ 

A worker at a Florida high school has complained about a co-worker’s parking space upon which is written a verse from the Bible.

Marina Gentilesco, who is Jewish and works as an instructional assistant at Wiregrass Ranch High School in Pasco County, Florida, says the verse makes her angry every time she sees it. 

The Bible passage from the New Testament, Philippians 4:13, which is painted in the spot appears to be innocuous enough and simply states the inspirational line: ‘I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.’ 

But Gentilesco, whose parents survived the Holocaust, said she takes offense from the passage.

Marina Gentilesco, who is Jewish and works as an instructional assistant at Wiregrass Ranch High School in Pasco County, Florida, says a Bible verse makes her angry every time she sees it

This is how the Bible verse appears on the tarmac of the parking lot at the school. In full it states: 'I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me'

This is how the Bible verse appears on the tarmac of the parking lot at the school. In full it states: ‘I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me’

‘I feel like it’s attacking me as a Jew,’ Gentilesco told Fox 59. ‘It brings me to the verge of tears, because it brings me back to the six million that perished because of our faith — because we’re Jews.’

Gentilesco notes that she feels the phrase is better suited to the grounds of a church than that of a school.

‘You put it on a state-funded property ‘I’m not okay with it,’ she said. 

Gentilesco went to the school’s principal who then made inquiries with the school district.  

The verse on the parking space is Philippians 4:13, pictured here highlighted in a Bible

The verse on the parking space is Philippians 4:13, pictured here highlighted in a Bible

The painted-on verse can be seen jutting out from beneath a black pickup

The painted-on verse can be seen jutting out from beneath a black pickup

Pasco County Schools has since declared that it will not be removing the Bible verse

Pasco County Schools has since declared that it will not be removing the Bible verse 

Pasco County Schools has since declared that it will not be removing the Bible verse.

‘It’s not a violation. This is personal expression,’ explained Pasco County Schools Public Information Officer Stephen Hegarty.

‘There is no proselytizing going on. It’s not compelling students to do anything one way or the other,’ Hegarty added.

He also noted that it had no connection to anything being taught in the school.

‘It has nothing to do with instruction. It’s just a teacher expressing themselves just like they might wear a crucifix on their shirt. Teachers and students are free to express themselves,’ he said.

'There is no proselytizing going on. It's not compelling students to do anything one way or the other,' Pasco County Schools Public Information Officer Stephen Hegarty

‘There is no proselytizing going on. It’s not compelling students to do anything one way or the other,’ Pasco County Schools Public Information Officer Stephen Hegarty

Teachers at the school have been told they are free to express themselves however they please

Teachers at the school have been told they are free to express themselves however they please

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