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Elementary-school students would oppose the destruction of wildlife habitats to build shopping malls, amusement parks, and movie theaters, but they would allow the habitats to be removed to build housing for the poor, according to a recent survey of 363,000 pupils.

"This shows that students have concern about animals, but even more, a concern about people,'' said Lynell Johnson, executive editor of the Weekly Reader, which conducted the 40-question survey on a variety of wilderness-protection issues.

The survey also found that students opposed killing wild animals for display in museums or for research, but that few students disapproved of hunting or fishing for food.

In addition, it found, more than 60 percent of the pupils responding said they believed their own children would be able to see wild animals mainly in zoos and parks.

The magazine will conduct a similar survey in four years to see if student attitudes change, according to Mr. Johnson.


To help "promote an appreciation of democratic values'' among elementary-school students, the National Association of Elementary School Principals has formed a group to help principals create and strengthen student councils.

The American Student Council Association--formed with the help of a $250,000 grant from R. Bruce Reinecker, chairman emeritus of Lifetouch Inc., a school-photography company--will publish a newsletter and sponsor workshops for principals, according to Edward Keller, deputy executive director of the elementary-school principals' association.

"A lot of principals are [forming student councils] on their own,'' he said. "It is a lonely kind of experience.''

Mr. Keller said that he did not know how many elementary-school student councils currently exist, but that principals frequently make inquiries to the association on the subject.

Noting that 1987 is the 200th anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution, Mr. Keller said it is an appropriate time to begin the student-council association.

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