11/07/1994 at 01:00 AM EST
Capt. James Hewitt, who claims to have been Princess Diana's lover (PEOPLE, Oct. 17), will have to do a lot of shoveling to exhume himself from the scorn heaped upon him by this week's correspondents. Readers also sided with the Loudon (Va.) County school system in its effort to keep autistic child Mark Hartmann out of a regular classroom.
DIANA'S SECRET LOVER
Capt. James Hewitt is one of the Top 10 scumbuckets of this decade—in these times, no small feat.
MAX CHAMBERS, Katonah, N.Y.
My oh my, how time flies. Has it really been five weeks since PEOPLE'S last cover story on Princess Di?
MARGARET WAUGH, Chico, Calif.
I cannot decide which I despise more: Hewitt's decision to exploit his relationship with a fragile and lonely woman or the feeding frenzy this act initiated among the media.
CATHARINE HONEYMAN, Honolulu
This lovely woman will never have the peace and dignity she so richly deserves until she has her fingerprints sanded off and moves to Argentina. Or does PEOPLE have a stringer in Buenos Aires?
JOYCE R. SLATER, Kennesaw, Ga.
As a parent and a teacher, I feel for the Hartmanns and their desire to have their son receive the best education, but they need to realize that his best option is to be in a classroom with a teacher trained to deal with his special needs. The Hartmanns also need to understand that other students in a regular classroom deserve the right to the best education for them. If a teacher has 30 students, and one takes 50 percent of her time, the others are cheated.
Mentor on the Lake, Ohio
I have to wonder, are parents pushing to keep their children in a normal educational environment for the benefit of the children or the parents? Yes, federal law gives Mark the right to attend normal third-grade classes. However, is that the right thing to do for Mark?
KATHY MULKERN, Sunrise, Fla.
Teachers spend too much time dealing with problems of "normal" students—drugs, alcohol, weapons, gangs, pregnancy, dropouts—without being burdened with a child whose attention span is 2 minutes. My parents' generation fought so their special-needs children could have schools that can give them extra attention. Now the Hartmanns want to throw that away. The people who should be getting a lawyer are the parents of the other children in Mark's class.
ANITA J. CARTER, St. Louis
As parents of an 8-year-old with autism, now in his second year in a regular classroom, we believe the critical issue in this story is that Mark was successfully mainstreamed in a different locality and regressed without appropriate support services. What Loudon County should be asking itself is not how many dollars it can spend to keep this child out of school, but how it can learn from Mark's successful experience in Chicago.
HEIDI and MICHAEL LAWYER
HELL ON WHEELS
I am a victim of a drunk driver who was out on bail before I was admitted to the hospital. Two of my friends were killed by a drunk driver who served less than five years. It angers me that these killers serve only a few months, say they didn't mean to hurt anyone and are set free. Those killed don't get a second chance at life.
Our 13-year-old son was killed by a repeat offender in August 1993. Jeff was two blocks from our home and just a few days short of his birthday. There isn't a day or night that goes by that we don't relive the horrific magnitude of it all. By the time this letter goes to print, the man who killed our son will be freed, having served only 13 months in prison—less than one month for every year of Jeff's life.
GAIL and ED MARTINEZ
I am appalled that Keith Jones sums up the death of my mother, my stepfather and their friend as a "simple mistake" and "bad luck." While for my own peace of mind I have forgiven him, I hoped he would at least show some remorse for taking these three precious lives. Obviously, Mr. Jones has not grown up and accepted responsibility for his actions, and I hope the parole board realizes he probably never will.
CHERYL REVELL, Jacksonville, Fla.