School district staff attorney Tom Wittmer says the shirts might have offended or distracted others and violated the district's dress code.
The shirts are connected to a local church called the Dove World Outreach Center. Church Senior Pastor Terry Jones tells The Gainesville Sun that spreading the church's message is more important than education.
The congregation says a 10-year-old elementary school student was sent home Monday because of the shirt. Three high school students were sent home Tuesday and a middle school student also had to change clothes.
"Students have a right of free speech, and we have allowed students to come to school wearing clothes with messages," Wittmer said, according to the Gainesville Sun. "But this message is a divisive message that is likely to offend students. Principals, I feel reasonably, have deemed that a violation of the dress code."
"The next kid might show up with a shirt saying 'Christianity is of the Devil,'" Wittmer told the newspaper.
First Amendment scholars said the school district's policy is likely legal and constitutional. Ron Collins, a scholar with the nonprofit First Amendment Center in Washington D.C., said courts give public school officials a "significant amount of latitude" in regulating student dress that could disrupt the classroom or a school function, the newspaper reported.