, to me it's both refreshing and horrifying at the same time. Refreshing for the reasons you mentioned. Horrifying that in the 21st century there are still seemingly good, rational people who consider corporal punishment to be appropriate for a school infraction.
Also, saying that the guy was too big and strong is a ridiculous excuse -- there are plenty of big, strong people around who know how to be gentle when gentleness is called for, and a small person can inflict plenty of damage with a paddle if they are so inclined. If the teacher (or administrator, whoever he was) was so incapable of judging his own strength, he had no business being allowed to administer punishments in the first place.
And now I've read somewhere (sorry, lost the link) that the school has solved the policy violation problem by changing the policy, so that staff members of either gender may now administer corporal punishment to any student. Talk about going backwards.