The reaction of Fairfax County School Superintendent Robert Spillane to the plight of the 5-year-old girl with AIDS who wishes to attend kindergarten is nothing short of appalling {front page, Dec. 23}. Is this the sensitive and caring attitude that we expect from individuals who deal with our children and their futures on a daily basis? If one of Mr. Spillane's children had a terminal illness, would he tell the doctors not to waste their time and efforts because "the kid will be dead in a few months"?

Mr. Spillane certainly is not very "up to speed"; otherwise, he would know that many AIDS patients are still leading productive lives after having been diagnosed two years ago or longer. Research on AIDS is moving so quickly that this little girl has every chance of living for much longer than a few months. But since she is terminally ill, she apparently has no right to go to school, spend time with her peers and live as normal a life as possible. She is supposed to sit at home and wait for the inevitable.

Recently we also read of the town of Denton, Md., which has handled a similar situation in a totally different way. Fairfax County can boast all it wants about the high quality of its education, how much it spends on each child and how many of its students go on to prestigious colleges and universities. But the fact of the matter is that a small, conservative, unyuppie town in Maryland has outshone Fairfax County in its concern for the well-being of a sick child. Mr. Spillane's school system may have brains, but does it have heart?

If Mr. Spillane is so worried about AIDS in his school system, he better have all of the teachers, school personnel and students tested for the virus -- and, then, as an additional precaution, arm everyone with a bottle of Clorox. MIREILLE L. KEY Bethesda

The citizens of Fairfax County pay Robert Spillane $100,000 a year. He receives a $10,000 annuity on a pension fund and has the use of a county car equipped with a telephone. The little girl with AIDS asks only for a free public education.

Aren't taxpayers paying dearly for gratuitous insults and a benighted decision? I submit that the wrong person was expelled. JIM ROCCA College Park

I was shocked to learn, during Christmas week, that Robert Spillane had expelled a kindergarten girl with AIDS, reasoning that "the kid will be dead in a few months."

As a developmental psychologist, I can think of no crueller way to stigmatize a young girl. As a Fairfax County resident, I resent wasting money on legal action over this issue, rather than spending it on educating a girl with special needs. As a parent of elementary school children, I am angry that this action reinforces an irrational fear. Will similar indifference be shown should my own son or daughter become ill? JAMES HERSEY Vienna

Robert Spillane's decision not to allow a 5-year-old girl with AIDS to attend school and his comment that "the kid will be dead in six months" highlight the grossly inadequate AIDS education efforts in the metropolitan area.

One of the most unfortunate aspects of this decision is that Mr. Spillane had the opportunity as one of the country's foremost educators to teach the students, teachers and parents of Fairfax County (and the rest of the country) about this disease.

I congratulate the school officials, parents, teachers and students of Denton, Md.; they are an inspiration and a model for the rest of the country.

Shame on Mr. Spillane. He missed an incredible opportunity to teach -- not only about AIDS but about compassion and sensitivity as well. JEFFREY S. AKMAN Washington