Former Spartan talks anti-bullying - WNEM TV 5

Former Spartan talks anti-bullying

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DURAND, MI (WNEM) -

A former member of several Michigan State championship basketball teams and motivational speaker Anthony Ianni visited Durand Middle School Wednesday.

The focus was anti-bullying.

Ianni says he was the subject of frequent bullying as a young child. Ianni is also the first known person to play college basketball with autism. He said he saw his childhood bully while playing at MSU.

"I was tricked into putting my tongue on a frozen pole at recess one day. Here was a guy 17 years ago who tricked me into all that stuff, and now, he wanted my autograph," says Ianni.

Partnered with the Autism Alliance of Michigan, Anthony is visiting schools emphasizing bullying on the 'Relentless Tour'.

"I think there are kids everyday who are going through tough things in their life, maybe not autism but some other diagnosis or having tough days all the time. But seeing someone who's been though that, they can overcome a lot," says Ianni.

The goal is to reach 659 schools in a year to talk about bullying. But Ianni says it's not about him. It's about the kids who come up to him and say he's changed the way they want to treat other kids.

"He was really inspirational to me and I think to the rest of everyone else he will be too. I feel bad for the people I've bullied because I've bullied people before," says student Rachel Warren.

Ianni also visited Durand High School and in five months, he has spoken at almost 200 hundred schools.

TV5 wants to hear from you. What more could be done to prevent bullying in school? Sound off on the WNEM Facebook page.

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