After reading "Why Can't Betsy Attend a Neighborhood School?" {Close to Home, June 14}, the story of parents of a multiply-handicapped student who are seeking to educate their daughter in a regular classroom setting in Fairfax County, I was left with mixed emotions.

At first, I was glad to see the very issue of quality education for the handicapped given press. However, I was concerned that this one essay might not convey the whole picture of special education in Fairfax County.

I am a classroom teacher in the Fairfax County school system. My classroom consists of seven moderately retarded young adults who previously attended a special school. This year they attended Hayfield Elementary, a busy elementary school with more than 400 students. My students interacted with typical children their own age from the minute they got off the bus to the time they were ready to leave. And mine is not the only "mainstreamed" class at Hayfield. There are a range of special-education classes that attend Hayfield.

Betsy's parents' experience is just one part of the whole picture. Fairfax County's willingness to integrate the students at Hayfield demonstrates that the county does value normal schooling for moderately retarded youngsters.

I don't know how Betsy's parents felt as they drove off, leaving their daughter in Vermont with a foster family. I do know that Fairfax County is making changes.

JOAN E. JASON Alexandria