Mother angry twin daughters, age 6, separated by school district despite anxiety

Child psychologist: Twins shouldn't be separated

CICERO, Ind. - A Cicero mother is fighting to bring her twin daughters back together in the classroom.

The Hamilton Heights school district made the decision to separate the 6-year-olds, who are in the first grade.

As the Call 6 Investigators have learned, the Indiana Department of Education has no policy as to whether twin students should be kept together or separate, instead leaving it up to the individual school corporation to make the call.

In Minnesota, parents have the power to choose whether their twins be separated or together in the classroom.

Ahli and Amiya Buzan of Cicero were born five minutes apart, and they share a bond so close, they sleep in the same bed.

"To grow literally from day one together, it forms something we can never understand," said mother Jen Buzan. 

For the first nine weeks at Hamilton Heights Primary School, the twins were put in separate classrooms.

"They were both showing great anxiety," said Buzan. "Instead of concentrating on school work, they were wondering what the other one was doing. Amiya was waking up every morning faking physical ailments to not go to school."

Buzan appealed to school leaders, even including a letter from a child psychologist showing the twins have anxiety and should not be in different classrooms.

"At this time, this twin set is not ready to be separated," read a Nov. 12th letter from Dr. Sara Davis of KisPsych, Inc. "It is our recommendation that their special needs be taken into consideration for this school year as well as subsequent years."

Buzan said the principal, superintendent and school board all decided it was best to separate the twins.

"They are six years old," said Buzan. "We did not ask to break or bend a rule. All we asked was they be placed in a classroom together."

Hamilton Heights superintendent Tony Cook refused an interview with Call 6 Investigator Kara Kenney but responded via email.

"As most schools do when placing students in classrooms each year, the building teaching staff and administration examine and analyze each student's academic and social skill development from the previous year and then make placement based on the needs of the students," read the email from Cook. "That was done in this case, and it was determined that the twins would benefit from separate classroom placement."

The principal, superintendent and school board all agreed the twins should be separated.

Cook also pointed out that special allowances had been made for the twins to be together for two hours of each school day.

Buzan said that time included reading, lunch, recess and time on the bus.

She has pulled the twins out of school and is now homeschooling them.

"We had to do what's in their best interest," said Buzan. "Them being together is what’s in their best interest."

The research on the issue is mixed, but Buzan said she is totally open to the twins being schooled separately when they're a little older.

She's joining hundreds of other Hoosier parents who are signing a petition to the state legislature in the hopes of changing Indiana law to include parental input on twin separation.

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