Classroom Guest Stretches Boundaries


photo by Reid Hulst

Campaign documents were passed out to students by Marquez’s associates.

by Reid Hulst, Opinion Editor

In late September 2022, Cypress councilmember Dr. Frances Marquez was invited to speak at Cypress High School about the inner workings of government and how students can participate. However, things took an interesting turn as the first set of talks she gave related little to the previously agreed upon topic and instead became a sort of campaigning effort. Marquez was accompanied by associates who themselves were candidates for public offices. The second day she was asked, in teachers’ words, to

Senior Benjamin Viveros posed with Dr. Marquez after a recent Cypress City Council meeting. (photo by Courtesy of Benjamin Viveros)

“tone it down” and reportedly did so. The first day’s events weren’t forgotten though, and she was asked not to return for the third day of her visit.

The heart of the controversy surrounds Dr. Marquez taking a partisan position within the classroom environment, attacking her fellow peers on the council for alleged corruption. According to teacher Mr. Scott Eastridge, “Students deserve the whole picture of events.” On the report of Eastridge and other teachers, Marquez’s passionate speeches “made them uncomfortable” and felt  “very partisan.” Going off the accounts of those in attendance, flyers and campaign promotional papers were handed out to students promoting Marquez’s associates: Helen Le and Troy Tanaka.

Cypress High School principal, Jennifer Brown, spoke with Marquez following the first day of the events. When asked about the plans agreed upon before the visit, Brown detailed the pre-planned discussion topics that were initially ignored during Marquez’s actual visit. “We discussed how it would be a lesson on redistricting and how to run for office.” Brown also said the Mayor of Cypress, Paulo Morales, received complaints from parents and henceforth contacted her, ultimately leading to Marquez’s visit being cut short. 

To avoid a potential repeat, plans were swiftly put in place; scheduled visits by government personnel to Cypress now must be approved by the Mayor’s office. Regardless of the validity of Marquez’s comments toward fellow council members,  discourse of that kind does not belong in the classroom environment. These recent events have led to the other council members censuring her for a second time.