York Town Square

Part of the USAToday Network

Winterstown principal about machete attacker: ‘I’m thankful that no one died in my school … ‘

Norina Bentzel, North Hopewell-Winterstown Elementary School principal, holds a letter of forgiveness she wrote to William Michael Stankewicz in 2009. Stankewicz refused to accept the letter. Also of interest: York County, Pa., educator recounts machete attack on ‘I Survived…’ and Winterstown: Beautiful borough with 2 ugly moments.

Principal Norina Bentzel, who fended off a machete-wielding madman attacking her school in 2001, sat down for an interview with the York Daily Record/Sunday News in the aftermath of the attack on a Newtown, Conn., school.

Twenty first graders died in that Connecticut attack. In Winterstown, 11 kindergartners were injured at the hands of William Stankewicz. Bentzel subdued the assailant of his weapon.

In her recent interview, Bentzel answered a question that is top of mind after Newtown.

She said she has mentally played through the scenario of what would have happened if Stankewicz had been armed with a gun.

“It would have been awful,” she said. “I’m thankful that no one died in my school that day. It gives me great salvation and motivation to move forward.”

For the full interview, see – Norina Bentzel: “My heart goes out to these people.”


Norina Bentzel talks to a reporter, reflecting on how she fended off an attack from a machete-wielding assailant.

Also of interest:

Amish kindness after Nickel Mines influenced York County principal to offer forgiveness to machete-wielding assailant