Merri Schneider-Vogel, a former teacher, is a founding partner of Thompson & Horton LLP.  She represents and counsels administrators and boards of public, private, and charter schools, community colleges and other governmental entities on issues related to students, including student discipline, governance, election law, personnel and open government. Ms. Schneider-Vogel has extensive experience in all facets of school law, school litigation, and employment law, including discrimination law, grievances, non-renewals, terminations, wage and hour issues, Family Medical Leave Act issues, as well as preparation of school district policies, employment contracts and handbooks. Ms. Schneider-Vogel routinely advises clients on all aspects of disability law, including issues arising under the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA), the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.

Ms. Schneider-Vogel represents clients in state and federal courts in discrimination, civil rights, and other employment-related lawsuits and student issues. She advocates for her clients before the Texas Education Agency, the EEOC, the Office for Civil Rights, and other administrative and regulatory agencies. She also regularly represents school districts in special education due process hearings involving a wide range of issues, attends mediations, and Admission, Review and Dismissal (ARD) meetings.  Ms. Schneider-Vogel conducts extensive training for administrators and board members on various topics, including special education, student discipline, confidentiality, all facets of employment issues, and open government issues.

Prior to joining Thompson & Horton, Ms. Schneider-Vogel was a partner in the School and Public Law Section of Bracewell & Giuliani LLP.

REPRESENTATIVE MATTERS

Claude Lewis v. Houston Independent School District; Dkt No. 016-R10-1107; Before the Commissioner of Education for the State of Texas (Termination) (2012)

Detra Conner v. Houston Independent School District; Dkt No. 088-R2-0612; Before the Commissioner of Education for the State of Texas (Termination) (2011)

Dela Cruz & Robinson v. Austin Independent School District; Dkt No. 103-R2-0811; Before the Commissioner of Education for the State of Texas (Termination) (2011)

Lynn Hendricks-Stewart v. Houston Independent School District; Dkt No. 036-R2-1111; Before the Commissioner of Education for the State of Texas (Non-renewal) (2011)

Kenneth Cuadra v. Houston Independent School District, et al., C.A. No. 4:07-cv-03300; In the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Houston Division ( summary judgment granted for District and individuals in malicious prosecution case brought under Section 1983) (affirmed by 5th Circuit November 17, 2010).

Meyers v. La Porte Indep. Sch. Dist., 2007 U.S. App LEXIS 29598 (5th Cir. December 20, 2007) (affirming summary judgment on race and gender discrimination, Title IX, and Section 1981 claims)

Woods v. Sheldon Indep. Sch. Dist., 2007 U.S. App. LEXIS 8562 (5th Cir. April 13, 2007) (affirming summary judgment on claims of race and age discrimination)

Matthew Paine v. Columbia-Brazoria Indep Sch. Dist, Cause No. 32852; In the 239th Judicial District Court of Brazoria County, Texas (lead attorney in successful defense of challenge to school district’s use of bond proceeds) (2007)

C.S. bnf Rhonda T. v. Pearland ISD, Dkt No. 142-SE-0306; Before a Special Education Hearing Officer for the State of Texas (special education due process) (2006)

Maria Camacho, et al. v. Lamar Consolidated ISD, Dkt No. 005-R1-905; Before the Commissioner of Education for the State of Texas (bilingual issue) (2006)

Durden, et al v. Houston Indep. Sch. Dist., 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 39817 (S.D. Tex. June 14, 2006) (granting summary judgment on Title IX and Section 1983 claims concerning alleged student sexual abuse)

Robert F. Green v. Columbia-Brazoria Independent School District, No. G-031029; In the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas; Galveston Division (race discrimination) (2004)

Mary Yee v. Galena Park Independent School District, Dkt No. 053-R10-102; Before the Commissioner of Education for the State of Texas (teacher evaluation) (2002)

Chelsey L. Edwards v. Pearland Independent School District, Dkt No. 017-R8-1001; Before the Commissioner of Education for the State of Texas (dress code) (2001)

Cynthia Musslewhite v. Lamar Consolidated Independent School District, Dkt No. 031-R10-1101; Before the Commissioner of Education for the State of Texas (payment of supplement) (2001)

Madelyn Raasch v. Columbia Brazoria Independent School District, Cause No. 13270*JG00; In the 239th Judicial District Court of Brazoria County, Texas (lead attorney in successful defense of district’s use of bond proceeds) (2000)

Pasadena ISD v. M., et al., C.A. No. 4:00-cv-02346; In the United States District Court for the Southern District, Houston Division (student disability) (2000)

Denise Schneider, et al. v. Lamar Consolidated Independent School District, Dkt No. 149-R10-497; Before the Commissioner of Education for the State of Texas (professional development requirement) (1999)

Earline Beam v. Pasadena Independent School District, Case No. 98-20826; In the United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit (affirming summary judgment on sex discrimination) (1998)

H, et al v. Lamar Consolidated ISD, C.A. No. 4:98-cv-01145; In the United States District Court for the Southern District, Houston Division (student disability) (1998)

Gertrude Janik v. Lamar Consolidated Independent School District, Case No. 97-20535; In the Fifth Circuit United States Court of Appeals (affirming summary judgment granted in employment discrimination case) (1997)

Swanson v. Houston Independent School District, 800 S.W.2d 630 (Tex. App.-Houston [14th Dist.] 1990, writ denied), (litigation over mandatory teacher competency testing)

Gayla Dawn Myers, et al. v. Columbia-Brazoria Independent School District, Dkt No. 008-R8-999; Before the Commissioner of Education for the State of Texas (dress code) (1989)

Texas Education Agency, et al., v. Gary W. Leeper, et ux., et al.,; C.A. No. D-2022; In the Supreme Court of Texas, appealed from the 17th Judicial District Court of Tarrant County, Texas / Gary W. Leeper and wife, Cheryl Leeper, in behalf of themselves and their school-aged children, et.al. and all others similarly situated vs. Arlington Independent School District, et. al, and all other school districts and school attendance officers in the State of Texas, No. 17-88761-85; In the District Court of Tarrant County, Texas; 17th Judicial District (class action challenging TEA’s limitations on home schooling) (1985)

SELECTED PUBLICATIONS AND SPEECHES

“Everything You Want to Know About At-Will Employment in School Districts”, 2013 TASA Midwinter Conference, January 2013

“More Chaos to Calm: Continue to Navigate the Ambiguous Charter School Course”, 2012 Texas Charter Schools Conference

“Avoiding FERPA Faux Pas and Other Lessons Learned from Recent Cases”, Hou-Met Conference, November 2012

“Hot Topics in Special Education”, Gulf Coast Administrators of Special Education Fall Forum, October 2012

“At-Will Employment in Charter Schools”, 2nd Annual Charter School Legal Summit, October 2012

“Bullying and Special Education Issues”, Region 10 ESC Spring Meeting for Charter Schools — Legal Update, May 2012

“The DAEP at 17: Recent Developments in Student Discipline”, University of Texas School Law Conference, March 2012

“Working through Reduction in Force Issues 2012 Personnel Update”, Personnel Update Seminar Series Presented by Thompson & Horton LLP, February 2012

“Chaos to Calm: Navigating the Ambiguous Charter School Course”, 2011 Charter School Conference, November 2011

“Effective Settlement/Mediation Agreements”, Gulf Coast Administrators of Special Education Fall Forum, November 2011

“Update to Employment Contract Issues: Navigating Chapter 21 of The Texas Education Code”, TASA/TASB Convention, October 2011

“Disciplining Employees for Physical Altercations with Students”, TASA/TASB Convention, October 2011

“Charter School Fair Labor Standards Act Update: Real Life Situations and the FLSA”, Region 4 Education Service Center, September 2011

“Recent Special Education Cases of Note”, Region 4 Education Service Center, August 2011

“Complying with Section 504: A Legal and Practical Perspective”, Texas Council of Administrators of Special Education, July 2011

“State & Federal Legal Mandates Related to Bullying in Schools”, Region 4 Education Service Center, December 2010

“Making a Difference: One Student at a Time”, Effective ARD Committee Documentation — Gulf Coast Administrators of Special Education Fall Forum, October 2010

“Sexual Harassment Legal Update”, Region 4 Education Service Center — Legal Update for District/Campus Leaders, October 2010

“Chapter 21: What needs to be Fixed?”, An Interactive Roundtable Discussion About the Traps and Pitfalls of Texas Education Code Chapter 21 — Texas Council of School Attorneys, September 2010

“Implementing a Legally Defensible Employee Drug Testing Policy”, TASA/TASB Convention, September 2010

“Ten Things Every Administrator Should Know About Special Education”, Region 4 Education Service Center, October 2009

“Amendment to Section 25.087 Of The Texas Education Code: Excused Absences For Autistic Students”, Gulf Coast Administrators of Special Education Fall Forum, October 2009

“To Quit or Not to Quit: Negotiating Legally Sound Employee Resignations”, TASA/TASB Convention, Houston, Texas, October 2009

“Employment Issues in An Ailing Economy”, Region 4 Service Center, 2009

“Legal Issues in School Public Relations”, Texas School Public Relations Association (TSPRA) Legal Workshop, November 2008

“The Due Process Hearing: Ways to Avoid It and How to Be Prepared if it is Inevitable”, 21st Annual Gulf Coast Administrators of Special Education (GCASE) Law Conference, November 2008

“The Nuts and Bolts of Chapter 37 of the Texas Education Code”, Children at Risk Seminar Series; Children’s law Symposium, October 2008

“What to do When Faced with Parent Complaints and Threats of Lawsuits: You Can Run But You Cannot Hide”, 4th Annual Texas Elementary Principals and Supervisors Association (TEPSA), October 2008

“Effective ARD Committee Documentation”, Gulf Coast Administrators of Special Education (GCASE) Camp Allen Retreat, October 2008

“Reassignments Roundtable”, Texas Council of School Attorneys (CSA) Education Law Conference, September 2008
“To File or Not to File: When Can and Should A School District Request a Special Education Due Process Hearing”, (Co-presenter with Susan S. Bon, J.D., PhD., George Mason University), Education Law Association, 53rd Annual Conference, November 2007

Chapter Author, Education Law Association Publication, Texas School Law: A Practical Guide (2nd Edition), November 2004.

Co-author, “The Americans with Disabilities Act: How Much Accommodation is Reasonable?,” Texas School Administrators’ Legal Digest, April 1996.

Co-author, “Lee v. Weisman: Should a Prayer at a Public School Graduation or other Extracurricular Event be a Thing of the Past?” 56 Texas Bar Journal, January 1993.

Co-author, “To Settle or to Litigate: Practical Strategies for Special Education Cases, Inquiry and Analysis,” November 1991.

“School District Liability Under State Law for the Operation or Use of a Motor Vehicle,” Texas School Administrators’ Legal Digest, February 1988.
Co-author, “The First Amendment and School Employees: A Practical Management Guide,” NOLPE Monograph, 1986.