Rats are loyal,loving playful and intelligent and bond strongly with humans,they are a companion animal like a cat or dog.I think they would love all the attention from the children But they do need a couple of hours a day free roaming Which would be a bit of a distraction in the classroom (plus they are thieving little gits so they would be stealing all the students pens and snacks😆)
So,I don’t think they would be suitable,IMO,they just need toomuch human attention and companionship,more than it would be possible to give them in that environment.
Rats need too much attention to be left alone that long, not to mention being hauled back and forth to someone's house during summer. Plus I'm sure there would be parents complaining about Rat Bite Fever risk. I wouldn't think a good breeder would want their animals being kept in a classroom either.
IMO, I don't think there's such a thing as a suitable class pet. Pets are more of a commitment than 2/3 of a single year; I don't think that teaches a kid much about responsibility.
We had class pets in 9th grade biology (two corn snakes, a ball python, a bearded dragon, a freshwater 10 gallon tank, and a 70 gallon saltwater tank) and I know for a fact none of them were happy or cared for properly. A friend and I took it upon ourselves to take care of all of those animals on a daily basis throughout high school until we graduated. Even then, only the fish, the dragon, and one corn snake survived that 4 year span. My friend adopted the dragon after we graduated because it became neurotic and aggressive due to poor housing.