I agree, the kids do love to do this! And any parent can do this with their child.
In regards to:
"Parents are notified about the project with a letter that comes in the packet. It explains everything in detail and if I remember correctly, it has checkoff boxes for ordering or not ordering."
Our school DOES NOT send home ANY information from the company EXCEPT the envelope with the 'Ordering/Not Ordering' check boxes (THIS IS NOT A RELEASE). This is attached to a one-paragraph statement, on the school's letter head, explaining to return it right away.
Per Student Treasures, this envelope IS NOT a release, it only helps them to know how many FREE books are to be made. This envelope does not even have to be returned to your school. No matter what, the child will always get a free copy.
Regarding your statement:
'I would think that if a parent does not want their child to participate, this would be their opportunity to speak up.'
It is not a matter of NOT wanting the child to participate, it is a matter of a company PROFITING off of your child's artwork/writing. This is illegal. If Student Treasures were a non-profit, then it is ok (like the magnet companies). However, since ST IS NOT, they only make their money off of the children's works.
I find that VERY disturbing. And hey, maybe it is just me?? But, how would you feel if someone took a drawing of your child's. Say for instance, another parent at the school. That parent then placed the artwork on Ebay.
That said parent is now PROFITING from your child's artwork. Which, is against the law. A copyright IS NOT a MUST HAVE. It only makes it easier to sue in a court of law.
All this company needs to do, have parents signs releases on behalf of their children.
End of story