You know, I would usually say that I whole-heartedly support this. Because there are just some times that words mean absolutely nothing to a student (or just a person) and they'll continue to act up, bully, disrespect, and disrupt. I noticed it very early on when just teaching preschoolers, so just imagine trying to discipline an older "child" when he or she may very well be bigger than some of teachers themselves are.
But in my mind, that's in a semi-perfect world, with good people. When I think about children I may have one day, and when I think about the many, many ugly and bad-intented people in this world, I begin to second-guess my above opinion. Because really, I doubt I'd be comfortable with someone else paddling my kid. I know I'm not perfect, but I also don't trust others to practice restraint or to know when is enough. Honestly, how do you decide who is worthy of deciding that kind of punishment, besides the parents? (And honestly, many parents aren't even worth of that, in my opinion... but different subject for a different day.)
So I don't really know what to think now. I do know that in today's world, only using "encouraging words" and thinking that will make the ones needing discipline "want" to just act better, in my experience, usually doesn't work.
It is interesting that since the reinstatement of the discipline, behavior has significantly improved, even though only one kid has actually received it. It's also interesting that it was reinstated due to parental request.
Which kind of brings me to what I'd say is my final opinion on this idea. In today's world, I wouldn't be comfortable with someone else paddling my kid. But I'd rather them leave that option to me. Which really drives home the thought that good parenting makes all the difference in the world. If a child is raised right and the time is invested in their life to help make them a good person, their discipline shouldn't have to extend to paddling anyway. But if it was necessary, my thought is that the schools need to inform the parents of the problems, and even send the kids home if they continue to disrupt. But leave the actual discipline to the parents. If this was years and years ago, my opinion might be different. But in this world we now live in, that would be my choice.