WESLEY CHAPEL, Fla. (WFLA) — Marina Gentilesco is an educational assistant at Wiregrass Ranch High School in Pasco County.
She grew up hearing stories of her parents in the Holocaust. This is the reason why she gets angry walking past her co-worker’s parking spot every day.
“I feel like it attacks me as a Jew,” she said.
The parking spot has a Bible verse painted on it saying, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
“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.”
She says it brings back painful memories.
“They survived,” she said. “We did not do it.”
Gentilesco says she wouldn’t mind in a place like a church, but doesn’t think it belongs in a schoolyard.
“You put it on publicly funded property,” she said. “I don’t agree with that.”
Gentilesco expressed his frustrations to his director who inquired with the district. Pasco County schools will not remove the Bible verse.
“It’s not a violation,” said Stephen Hegarty, public information officer for Pasco County Schools. “It’s a personal expression.”
“There is no proselytizing going on,” Hegarty added. “It’s not forcing students to do anything one way or the other.”
He says this in no way reflects what students learn in school.
“It has nothing to do with the instruction,” he said. “He’s just a teacher speaking like he’s got a crucifix on his shirt.”
So the Bible verse painted on a teacher’s parking spot at Wiregrass Ranch High School is here to stay.
“Teachers and students are free to express themselves,” Hegarty said.