CAI Executive Director Robert Fellmeth Appears on CBS 8 News

Robert C. fellmeth

San Diego (November 8, 2018) – Executive Director Robert Fellmeth of the University of San Diego School of Law’s Children’s Advocacy Institute (CAI) appeared in a segment by CBS 8 News on the Torrey Pines High School threat case.

According to the story, the 16-year old boy involved in the January 2018 incident at Torrey Pines High School threatening to “shoot up a school” was expelled in March by the San Dieguito school district.  The teen appealed to the San Diego County School Board of Education with the help of a USD law student.  The County Board voted to overturn the school district’s decision.

“The idea of having a bright line where you treat every circumstance the same doesn't work.  That results in stupidity and injustice and a waste of everybody's time,” Fellmeth said.

“You have problems with people making threats who don't mean it and you've got to differentiate those from people who might actually do something,” said Fellmeth.

“On the other hand, if you have a kid who has a pattern, has carried out something, about to carry out something, you have reason to believe he has a serious problem, mental health problem or whatever, then we need to intervene,” said Fellmeth.

The San Dieguito Union High School District still refused to take the student and filed a writ of mandate in San Diego County Superior Court.

According to the article, the boy’s parents have hired a private attorney to for their son’s future, who they say made a mistake.

“All of us have said stupid things, although we try to forget them,” said Fellmeth, the USD Law Professor.

“Children are creatures of their culture.  And the culture now is one that is imbued unfortunately from the top with threats,” Fellmeth said.

Watch segment and read article here.


About the Children’s Advocacy Institute

The Children's Advocacy Institute (CAI), founded at the nonprofit University of San Diego School of Law in 1989, is one of the nation's premiere academic, research, and advocacy organizations working to improve the lives of children and youth, with special emphasis on improving the child protection and foster care systems and enhancing resources that are available to youth aging out of foster care.

In its academic component, CAI trains law students and attorneys to be effective child advocates throughout their legal careers. Its Child Advocacy Clinic gives USD Law students three distinct clinical opportunities to advocate on behalf of children and youth, and its Dependency Counsel Training Program provides comprehensive training to licensed attorneys engaged in or contemplating Dependency Court practice.

CAI's research and advocacy component, conducted through its offices in San Diego, Sacramento, and Washington, D.C., seeks to leverage change for children and youth through impact litigation, regulatory and legislative advocacy, and public education. Active primarily at the federal and state levels, CAI's efforts are multi-faceted—comprehensively and successfully embracing all tools of public interest advocacy to improve the lives of children and youth. To support CAI’s work, please visit


About the University of San Diego School of Law

The University of San Diego (USD) School of Law is recognized for the excellence of its faculty, depth of its curriculum, and strength of its clinical programs. Each year, USD educates approximately 800 Juris Doctor and graduate law students from throughout the United States and around the world. The law school is best known for its offerings in the areas of business and corporate law, constitutional law, intellectual property, international and comparative law, public interest and taxation.

USD School of Law is one of the 84 law schools elected to the Order of the Coif, a national honor society for law school graduates. The law school’s faculty is a strong group of outstanding scholars and teachers with national and international reputations and currently ranks 35th nationally and 6th on the West Coast among U.S. law faculties in scholarly impact and 24th nationally and 6th on the West Coast in all-time faculty downloads on the Social Sciences Research Network (SSRN). The school is accredited by the American Bar Association and is a member of the Association of American Law Schools. Founded in 1954, the law school is part of the University of San Diego, a private, nonprofit, independent, Roman Catholic university chartered in 1949.


Katie Gonzalez
(619) 260-4806