I think poxyfairy meant the school did them a favor because she's in a much better school now.
I don't see the point of having dress codes if a) you're not going to enforce them uniformly (last year vs. this year); b) you're not going to enforce them with staff; c) you don't have a good reason for them, especially in light of what the school is ostensibly trying to accomplish.
Paddling is not uncommon in some private schools, especially religious ones. I refused to enroll my son in an otherwise good school because they had a paddling policy. I also grew up in the era of public school corporal punishment, and believe me, we behaved, but most of us were scared sh*tless of the teachers who spanked, shook, rapped knuckles with the ruler, etc. My second grade teacher was a tyrant. If the only way you can maintain order is to terrify your students, then you shouldn't be teaching. It sounds to me like that family is well shut of that school.