As the only Jewish student in Pike County, Ala., schools during most of the 1950s, I was saddened by The Post's story about the alleged persecution of the only Jewish students currently in rural Pike County High School {"Tough Lessons in an Alabama Town," news story, Sept. 2}.

I do not know the Herring-Willis family or the school administrators who are the defendants in the lawsuit. Whether the Herring children have been persecuted because they are Jewish and whether the Pike County schools have stepped over the line separating church and state (a hotly contested line in Alabama and elsewhere these days) presumably will be determined in the forthcoming trial.

I do know that my own experiences were nothing like the ones The Post reports, perhaps because my family had been in Troy, Ala., since my grandparents' generation (which still made us newcomers). I never was excluded, singled out or discriminated against, nor was my older brother before me. Indeed, I never experienced antisemitism until I went away to school -- even though during many of those years Alabama had a perennial candidate who railed against the "Communist-Jewish conspiracy." I have attended and taught at some good schools since leaving Troy, but I've never seen teachers better than several I had there.

I do not report my happy memories of growing up in Pike County in order to suggest that the Herring-Willis charges must be false. But I do want to second the comments the article quotes from the family's lawyer, Pamela Sumners, who said that she "would hate for folks to have the impression that we don't have any progressive, open-minded people in the state of Alabama." I would add only that, in Alabama as elsewhere, not all open-minded people are progressive, and in fact, every now and then one occasionally runs across progressive people who are not open-minded. Those would be the people who leap from the charges The Post reports to the conclusion that the whole town, county and state must be guilty. That would not be justified even if, tragically, the charges should be proved true. JOHN S. ROSENBERG Falls Church