Arlington, VA

Starting next month, Arlington Public Schools’ Stratford Program will be officially renamed the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Program.

The secondary school program is for students with special needs. A seven-member renaming committee of teachers, parents, and students decided to rename the program after Eunice Shriver Kennedy, founder of the Special Olympics and long-time activist for people with intellectual and physical disabilities.

“We decided that her name didn’t need any extra words around it,” said parent Lee Whitem, who sat on the renaming committee. She said at a School Board meeting earlier this month that the program would likely be called “the Shriver Program” for short.

School Board Chair Reid Goldstein said he was “delighted” to see the change.

Stratford is a reference to Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s home plantation and has been criticized as a relic of slavery. The School Board previously stripped the name from Stratford Junior High School, renaming it after civil rights activist Dorothy Hamm, who integrated the school and left a lasting impression on the community.

The Stratford Program will be renamed officially starting July 1, according to outgoing Superintendent Patrick Murphy, who announced the change during the June 6 School Board meeting.

In the fall, the special needs program is set to move into the new Heights building in Rosslyn together with H-B Woodlawn.

“We’re going to the Heights building changing our name to the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Program, which is very appropriate and very wonderful,” said Stratford Program Principal Dr. Karen Gerry. “Our students will flourish in this community and under this new name.”

In the past, School Board members stripped the “Lee” from Washington-Lee High School over heated opposition from some wanting to keep the reference to the Confederate general.

Last month, the state also agreed to let Arlington rename Jefferson Davis Highway as Richmond Highway to ditch the reference to the president of the Confederacy, and the Nauck Neighborhood renamed itself Green Valley Neighborhood, ditching a reference to a Confederate soldier.

Image via Google Maps

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