First of foremost, I would leave that CrossFit gym immediately. They're obviously not in tune with safety and are more worried about their equipment (if your assumption is correct) than the well-being of one of their patrons. Anyone getting into this business where we drop weights from a high point in a controlled fashion should know that they're going to eventually replace something. That's also why the manufacturers make them the way they do! A little oversight and proper instruction as to how to safely drop weight in a controlled manner will help lengthen the life of the equipment, but not dropping the weight AT ALL is a little ridiculous on top of being really dangerous.
Regardless, it comes down to personal safety. I always have to question CrossFit gyms and this culture they think they have to convey. Everything with them is about being fast and, if there's a little deviance in form, it's acceptable because you're trying to be as fast as you can! Does that make ANY sense? People spend their entire lives trying to perfect these lifts and become somewhat decent at them. CrossFit "coaches" get 15-20 minutes of instruction on how to teach the snatch (!); on top of their 10-12 hours of total instruction and test, they get to walk away with a certificate and can open a gym where people don't know the difference between good and bad coaching. There's no continuing education (God forbid you tell a CrossFitter there's anything else other than CrossFit, which is nothing more than your standard circuit training) forced on these "coaches," so most of them will never try to learn any more than what was showed to them; likewise, the CrossFit HQ does a poor job at quality control and assurance (that's another topic for another day). Lucky for you, you used COMMON SENSE and realized that something was wrong and continued doing your research. It's just unfortunate that there are many others who are experiencing this.
The answer is simple in my eyes: you're 100% correct and they're 150% wrong. The fact that they have a punishment for that stuff, too, is a little ridiculous. It just comes to show how little they know about the classic lifts, human capabilities, and general social skills. I would excuse yourself from their facility and never go back.
Just a little background on me (since I think I'll get some push back for the CrossFit talk): I'm a USAW Level 1 coach (Level 2 trained, but haven't met all the ridiculous requirements to be acknowledged as one). I'm hoping to get my CSCS when I return from this deployment and will look to go back to school for Physical Therapy. I love weightlifting. I'm also a CrossFit Level 1 certified guy with multiple courses in that, too. I actually care about people's well-being and safety and movements while they're conducting the classic lifts and want to learn more and more ... and then some more. I'm never satisfied with what I know -- I'm always looking for what I don't know or what new information is available. I can't say the same for these guys based off their comments to their patrons. Therefore, I think I can comfortably say that you should walk away from this place, and it seems like you're also on the same page.
Javier A. Sanjuan
Olympus Barbell Club
Dear God, please help me lift heavy and be awesome. Thanks. Amen.