Hello Multiple MOMs,
It's that time of year again for back to school. And with that brings the question for multiple parents, "Do I keep them together or separate them." Don’t let anyone pressure you to do one or the other, it’s a family decision. And what’s best for your children.
Did you know there's a "Parent's Choice" law to protect you? This is the Texas law: https://codes.findlaw.com/tx/education-code/educ-sect-25-043.html
It is YOUR right MOMs if you want your children together or separated. Make sure you follow the guidelines, so you’re not surprised by a loop hole. For example, some states will impose a “14-day by letter” rule to keep your multiples together, otherwise they will automatically be separated.
The way to go about this is to contact the attendance office as soon as you register your multiples. If you receive any push back, go up the chain of command (I'm an old Army reservist and retired Army wife so the term is a habit! LOL). If attendance office isn’t cooperating, then Counselor, then Principle, then the District. I, personally, have never had to go that far up the chain. I usually get my answer at the attendance or counselor level. YOU are your children’s advocate. Advocate what you know is best for THEM. Don’t let anyone discourage you.
Kathy Dolan, a twin MOM from New York began a lobbying crusade to Congress, and all 50 states about 15-20 years ago to get this law passed. Minnesota was the first state to sign twin’s law into being in 2005. She began this crusade because she wanted her twins kept together in the same class, but her school said no. But if she brought a doctor’s note, they would keep them together. She has fought legislation to make this law, use it if you need to.
Currently 14 states have twin/multiples laws set, and 11 states are in legislation for twin laws. We need to get the word out to help legislation continue in the rest of the United States. This site has information on which states currently have twin laws: https://www.verywellfamily.com/twins-in-school-p2-2447495
Most schools have a mandatory separation rule for multiples. This will be done, unless YOU use your parental and state right, if you want your multiple's together to make it happen.
Of course, some multiples parents want their multiples separated, and that's fine too. That's your family's choice. Personally, we made the decision that when our identical (because sometimes that makes a difference in separation) twin girls went to school, they would be kept together until THEY asked for different classes. Our personal journey was a little different in that we are retired military. Some places we moved were so small they only had one class. Some were so big they were divided into teams.
Our Twin’s School history:
- PK thru 2nd grade - together
- 3rd grade - they asked to be separate (That year did not go well.)
- 4th & 5th grade - one class, small school
- 6th - same team, same core classes (Math, Science, English, History), different electives
- 7th - 12th - same as 6th
I also read a book National Mothers of Twins Club/Multiples of America (NOMOTC/MOA) promotes about separating multiples. There was a story I'll never forget in the book about ID twin girls who were skipping school in high school. When they were caught hiding in the bathroom and asked why, they said, "We wanted to be together." Because everyone separated them in everything, they we're never together. I swore that would not happen to my girls.
I feel that whatever decision you make when enrolling your multiples in Kindergarten will not hurt them later. You can always change your decision every year. We’ve made changes mid-year. Just be open and watch for signs there is a problem, investigate, and make the changes needed. You got this!
P.S. This goes for sports as well, not the law part. Just to separated or not in sports. Our girls refuse to be separated when they play sports. They play everything together: Soccer, Tennis, Gymnastics, Ice Hockey, Figure Skating, Basketball.
There is also a petition you can sign to make "Parent's Choice" a national law: https://www.change.org/p/parents-of-twins-twin-law-in-every-state-in-usa
This is an article for keeping twins or multiples together: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/intense-emotions-and-strong-feelings/201403/twins-in-defense-togetherness
About the Author
Melissa Miller is an old Army reservist, retired Army wife and mom of three, including identical twin girls Martha & Melissa. She is a member of several multiples organizations including PAMOM and others in Multiples of America and the Texas Mothers of Multiples.