In both these cases, the community of Cranston rallied around the schools, but the ACLU used the courts to defeat them. In the banner case, the school not only had to pay the legal costs of defending the banner, but since the court ruled against them, the school also had to pay $178,000 in the ACLU's legal fees.
Then, last September, the ACLU got a father-daughter dance canceled. This wasn't a separation of church and state issue. The ACLU won by using the argument that the dance encouraged "gender stereotypes." The arguments were so absurd that I can hardly tell you about them without laughing. Apparently the event might indicate that males and females are different. Not every girl has a dad who would take her to the dance. The school caved into the ACLU demand.
The ACLU then crowed about its victory, saying "The school district recognized that in the 21st century, public schools have no business fostering the notion that girls prefer to go to formal dances while boys prefer baseball games. This type of gender stereotyping only perpetuates outdated notions of 'girl' and 'boy' activities. ... The time has long since passed for public school resources to encourage stereotyping from the days of Ozzie and Harriet."
Listen to the radio commentary here: