Teacher turns back on Romeo's loving

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'POLITICAL Correctness' claimed its latest victim yesterday in the shape of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. A headteacher in the London borough of Hackney has refused to take her pupils to a production of a ballet based on the play because it 'does not explore the full extent of human sexuality'.

Jane Hardman-Brown, head of Kingsmead School, turned down an offer of tickets to see the Covent Garden production of Romeo and Juliet. Her decision was branded ludicrous by Colin Beadle, a Liberal Democrat councillor in Hackney. 'She's gone off the rails. She's totally mad.'

Lines like 'Come, night] come. Romeo] come, thou day in night' and 'Love goes towards love, as schoolboys from their books' are not uttered in the danced version.

However, the headteacher said the Royal Opera House production was a 'blatantly heterosexual love story'.

'Tempt not a desperate man' Mr Beadle could have quoted as he proclaimed his anger. His actual words were less poetic: 'These loonies insist on walking straight into trouble and creating such bad publicity for Hackney.'

Ms Hardman-Brown was offered free tickets by the Hamlyn Foundation.

Mr Beadle added: 'Hackney tends to attract the sort of people like Ms Hardman- Brown. There are armies of these politically correct idiots wandering round the borough.'

Jeremy Isaacs, The Royal Opera House's general director, said: 'What a shame that anyone should be deprived of a chance to see a masterpiece by so ludicrous and wrong- headed an attitude.'

Colleagues of Ms Hardman-Brown said that she had been misunderstood, saying she was trying to stop the children being fed a constant diet of gang fights and killings.