How Can I Keep My Twins Together in School?

Twin sisters assembling electronics in science center workshop
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Parents of twins will eventually be faced with a quandary that every parent of multiples has: whether a school will allow their twins to attend class together.

Keeping twins together at school is an emotionally charged issue that can often divide parents and teachers. Some parents have advocated for change at the state, and even federal, levels to ensure that twins can be in the same classroom.

Here are a few cases to be aware of, as well as some of the pros and cons of having your twins attend class together.

Pros and Cons of Schooling Together

Parents understand the unique bond that many twins have and some are eager to avoid the trauma of separation, particularly in the early school years.

Parents of this view argue that schooling twins together allows them to experience the same teacher and teaching style, and prevents one twin from having a "better" or "more fun" experience than the other.

Those who disagree contend that separating twins allows them to develop their own interests and avoid the comparison of who may be doing "better" or "worse." Some educators assert that twins in separate classes will be better able to draw their own conclusions rather than make a "group" decision.

Parents Press for Changes in State Law

In recent years, parents of twins or multiples have begun to seek greater control in deciding what's best for their kids rather than allowing the school to do this for them.

To this end, advocates have begun to press for changes in state laws to provide parents with some degree of control over classroom placement.

Minnesota

The first state to enact such protections was Minnesota with the passage of Statute 102A.38 of the State Education Code.

The statute, signed into law in 2005 by then-Governor Tim Pawlenty, afforded parents the right to request that their twins be placed in the same or separate classroom if they are in the same grade.

While the school board still has the final call (based on input from the school principal), the intent of the law was to allow such placement unless it was deemed disruptive to the school.

New York

In response to the Minnesota legislation, advocates like Kathy Dolans of Queens, New York began to push for similar laws in their own states.

Dolans, a mother of twins, encountered denial of her requests in 2004 when she was informed that the separation of her then-five-year-old boys was "kindergarten policy."

With support from her pediatrician and evidence from researcher Nancy Segal, Dolans was finally able to win approval. Though she faced resistance again the following year when her boys enrolled in the first grade.

Dolans launched a national campaign calling for federal protection of parental rights with the support of the non-profit National Organization of Mothers of Twins Clubs and International Society for Twin Studies.

Texas

Twins Wendy Wortham and Cindy Daniels pressed for similar legislation in Texas, which lead to the passage of House Bill 314 in 2007.

States With Twins Laws

Currently, 14 states have twin laws on the books, while no less than 11 others have legislation pending or sponsored bills awaiting review. The states with enacted laws are:

  • Arkansas
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Illinois
  • Louisiana
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Mississippi
  • Minnesota
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • North Carolina
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Virginia
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  1. Gordon LM. Twins and Kindergarten Separation: Divergent Beliefs of Principals, Teachers, Parents, and TwinsEducational Policy. 2014;29(4):583-616. doi:10.1177/0895904813510778.