Schools in the US marked the National Day of Silence today to bring attention to LGBT bullying.

This year’s date is considered especially significant as Carl Walker-Hoover, of Massachusetts, would have been 12 today. Carl killed himself last week after suffering months of homophobic bullying at school.

He did not identify as gay but was verbally and physically abused by classmates.

Participants usually stay silent all day, although they are encouraged to recognise the day in any way they see fit so long as it is respectful and draws attention to the issue of LGBT bullying.

The event began in 1996 at the University of Virginia.

Students chose the idea of silence as a form of protest for one of their class assignments. It is now observed by hundreds of thousands of students in over 8,000 schools.

According to the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, nine out of ten LGBT students experience bullying at school and more than a third report missing at least one day of school in the last month out of fear for their personal safety.