Q: Should I separate my multiples in school, and are there any laws about classroom placement of multiples?
A: This question is by far the most frequently asked about school age multiples and is sometimes controversial in the world of multiples. Most literature and information about school placement with multiples involves twin research. Many schools believe that multiples, particularly twins, should be treated equally and thus separated. Some school administrators feel that separating multiples gives each child the chance to develop a distinct personality. Many parents of multiples feel that they know their children best and should have the final say regarding their children’s placement. Research studies show that placement affects multiples differently depending on the zygosity and age of the multiples as well as other factors.
The decision is best made based on each child’s and each family’s needs. The decision making process should involve parents, teachers and administrators working together with best interest of these particular children in mind and not necessarily a school policy with a blanket rule for all multiple birth children or a matter of convenience. What will be right and appropriate for one family may not be for the next. In addition, the decision should be reviewed on an annual basis since what was appropriate and reasonable for one academic year may not be for the following year. Ultimately, it may be in the children’s best interest to have at least some separate classroom experiences prior to entering middle school where separation is inevitable.
States with legislation on classroom placement of multiples (bolded states have passed legislation or adopted a resolution):
- Alabama HB 161 (legislation pending since 2007)
- Arizona HB 2039 (legislation pending 2008)
- Florida SB642 (legislation passed June 2008)
- Georgia SB 123 (legislation passed May 2007)
- Illinois HR 0770 (resolution adopted February 2006)
- Louisiana HB 1247 (legislation passed June 2008)
- Maryland HB 837 (legislation pending since 2008)
- Massachusetts HB 469 (legislation passed September 2008)
- Michigan SB 719 (legislation pending since 2007)
- Minnesota Chapter 33-SF No 180 (legislation passed May 2005)
- Mississippi HB 1191 (legislation passed April 2009)
- Missouri HB1726 (legislation pending since 2008)
- New Hampshire SB 78 (legislation passed August 2007)
- New Jersey HB A1671 (legislation passed 2008)
- New York S2074 (legislation pending since 2007)
- Oklahoma HR 1054 (resolution adopted April 1994)
- Pennsylvania HB1067 (legislation passed July 2008)
- South Carolina SB 641 (legislation pending since 2007)
- Texas HB 314 (legislation passed May 2007)
- Virginia HB 722 (legislation passed April 2009)