Davis v. Monroe County Bd. of Ed., 526 U.S. 629, 17 (1999)

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Cite as: 526 U. S. 629 (1999)

Opinion of the Court

ment. That is, the deliberate indifference must, at a minimum, "cause [students] to undergo" harassment or "make them liable or vulnerable" to it. Random House Dictionary of the English Language 1415 (1966) (defining "subject" as "to cause to undergo the action of something specified; expose" or "to make liable or vulnerable; lay open; expose"); Webster's Third New International Dictionary 2275 (1961) (defining "subject" as "to cause to undergo or submit to: make submit to a particular action or effect: EXPOSE"). Moreover, because the harassment must occur "under" "the operations of" a funding recipient, see 20 U. S. C. 1681(a); 1687 (defining "program or activity"), the harassment must take place in a context subject to the school district's control, Webster's Third New International Dictionary, supra, at 2487 (defining "under" as "in or into a condition of subjection, regulation, or subordination"; "subject to the guidance and instruction of"); Random House Dictionary, supra, at 1543 (defining "under" as "subject to the authority, direction, or supervision of").

These factors combine to limit a recipient's damages liability to circumstances wherein the recipient exercises substantial control over both the harasser and the context in which the known harassment occurs. Only then can the recipient be said to "expose" its students to harassment or "cause" them to undergo it "under" the recipient's programs. We agree with the dissent that these conditions are satisfied most easily and most obviously when the offender is an agent of the recipient. Post, at 661. We rejected the use of agency analysis in Gebser, however, and we disagree that the term "under" somehow imports an agency requirement into Title IX. See post, at 660-661. As noted above, the theory in Gebser was that the recipient was directly liable for its deliberate indifference to discrimination. See supra, at 642-643. Liability in that case did not arise because the "teacher's actions [were] treated" as those of the funding recipient, post, at 661; the district was directly liable for its


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