The image of Georgetowners defiantly waving their checkbooks and threatening litigation to prevent 24 mentally disturbed people from taking up residence at the former Hurt Home for the Blind {front page, Sept. 25} warms the heart. It is good to know that these civic-minded residents will uphold their own form of apartheid for the mentally ill to preserve the "safe and quiet enjoyment" of Montrose Park and its environs. If this is the kind of civics we are teaching our children -- that money and the legal system can shield you from the more painful side of life -- perhaps we should think again about the example we are setting.

Certainly, the District should be chided for not consulting with the residents and exercising every effort to work with them in advance; however, the arrogance and high-minded-ness of the residents in trying to establish their neighborhood as a preserve free from the blight of the mentally ill are disgraceful.

Disturbed people who pose no violent threat to a community should be allowed to reside in facilities as well situated as the former Hurt Home, which has access to and a view of Montrose Park. Perhaps the home's residents would enjoy seeing families and children playing in the park. Perhaps the children might even learn that the world holds such people and they are not monsters. BARRY CAMPBELL BOYCE Washington