Who wears short shorts?

Not students at Truro Junior High School. At least, not if they want to avoid detention.

Julia Davison of Truro, N.S., has launched an online petition to have schools re-evaluate their dress codes after her daughter was given detention for wearing short shorts to school.

And she says she’ll let her daughter keep wearing them as an act of defiance.

“I don’t think she’s being singled out for the shorts,” Davison told CTV News on Tuesday. “I think she’s being singled out because she refused to comply with the rule that really isn’t there.”

Davison says the guidelines surrounding short shorts are inconsistent and not enshrined in the student code of conduct at her daughter’s school.

The school’s standard for “too short” is anything shorter than the fingertips when a girl’s arms are resting at her sides, Davison says, explaining that school officials told her short shorts are not allowed because they distract male students.

In a lengthy post on her petition website, Davison say that’s “completely ridiculous.”

The online petition was launched after Davison says she tried to resolve the situation with the school’s principal and vice principal.

By Wednesday morning, the petition had nearly 7,000 signatures.

Davison’s petition asks for the Chignecto Central Regional School Board and Truro Junior High to “change their stand on the dress code and re-evaluate the reasons that our daughters are given for not being allowed to wear shorts.”

Davison’s daughter has been given repeated lunchtime detentions and has been threatened with suspension, according to Davison’s petition updates.

Other girls at the school have joined Davison’s daughter in protesting the short shorts ban.

Truro Junior High student Coraleigh Nelson says it’s a rule worth defying.

“I’ll take the suspension,” she told CTV News on Tuesday. “I’ll take the detention, as long as it’s getting the point across. Because seven people getting in trouble, it’s helping a lot more people.”

“I’d rather she was around people that love her and support her than to be somewhere where I don’t think she’s being treated fairly,” says Nelson’s mother, Jamie Northup.

Debbie Buott Matheson, a representative for the Chignecto Central Regional School Board, says the girls are being punished for their short shorts because they’ve continued to wear them after being told not to.

“When you’re choosing to openly defy something you’ve been asked to abide by, you sort of automatically roll into that discipline, that progressive discipline area,” she told CTV News.

But Nelson says there’s no sense behind such a rule.

“They’re saying that it’s a distraction, even though nothing’s where it shouldn’t be,” Nelson says. “It’s covering our butts and nothing’s… it’s just completely unfair.”

Davison writes in her petition post that the problem is not the males at the school – it’s the dress code policy that implies those males can’t be trusted.

“The message needs to be put out that girls are not there to be objects for males to use as sexual objects,” she writes in her post.

“Our daughters need to know that they are not in the wrong for wearing shorts… that they do not deserve to be treated as objects because of the clothes they choose to wear.”

With files from CTV Atlantic’s Dan MacIntosh