Former student speaks out about 3-year relationship with teacher
Houston’s KPRC-TV spoke exclusively with Joshua Whittingham, 20, a former student who had a three year “relationship” with one of his high school teachers.
He talked about the fact that it was something he had dreamed about but failed to realize it could create so much trouble in his life. His motivation for speaking out is to prevent others from falling into the same situation he now wished he had avoided.
“Before I met her, I was outgoing and social. I was on the swim team my ninth grade year after playing football,” Whittingham said to investigative reporter Jace Larson. “Then I started having an affair with my teacher, and that’s when I started failing geometry. I stopped attending classes. I stopped showing up to practice.”
Lindsey Garcia-Yazdi taught Spanish at Hastings High School. Whittingham said their interaction began when she started to sent him messages on Facebook.
“It was really just friendly talk, but as far as talk goes, it wasn’t school-related. It was more like personal life, her personal life, about her husband, her house and photography and my personal life, as far as swimming and staying active in swimming,” Whittingham said.
Whittingham has now moved on to college and is a lifeguard. He says Garcia-Yazdi was the one who initiated the first physical contact between the two of them.
“In high school, I let a lot of teachers know, ‘Hey, you look good today.’ She took it a step further by sending me a message on Facebook, which I never expected.”
The social media exchanges became something more, and the two would eventually meet in Whittingham’s neighborhood.
“It was Christmas break, and she came and picked me up and from there; once we went to my neighborhood, we were at a local park, and we were talking. From there, we got physical in a sexual manner,” Whittingham continued.
Soon after, he and the married Garcia-Yazdi started having a secret affair. This relationship became a strain on the teen’s life. His grades took a plunge, and he started getting in trouble with law enforcement.
“I couldn’t even tell my own mother. We were really close. Nobody got to know this,” he told the interviewer. “I got a lot of motivation sucked out of me. I kind of had to end swimming.”
Kimberly Whittingham, his mother, had no clue of what was going on with her son. She thought that her son may have gotten involved with a gang.
“Characters in his life became different. Everything changed in that time span,” Kimberly Whittingham said during the interview.
The relationship started to come to an end when Josh noticed strange things happening, like a rock being thrown at his bedroom window. He suspected that the culprit must have been someone connected to Garcia-Yazdi.
“Immediately after the rock came through the window, Garcia-Yazdi called and said, ‘Hey, next time it won’t be a rock. It’ll be six slugs in your (expletive),’” Joshua said to the interviewer.
This was the breaking point for the student, who then told his mom and the police. The teacher was eventually fired but avoided a long prison stint. However, for as long as she lives, she will be a registered sex offender.
In hindsight, Joshua Whittingham doesn’t believe that anyone could have prevented what happened. Kimberly Whittingham did offer some sage advice to other parents on how they could potentially prevent their kids from a similar fate.
“Pay close attention to social media, Facebook. Now it’s Instagram and all that, Snapchat and all these other entities. You just have to pay close attention,” Kimberly Whittingham said. “Most of all, he and I have a very close relationship. I make sure every day that I ask him, ‘How is your day?’ Or try to talk to him. But they still hide. You just have to go on your parental instincts.”