Two middle schoolers were honored, not punished, for calling the police on themselves when a soccer ball took a bad bounce and damaged a church.

Lt. Jamie Harklerode of the Marion Police Department said Officer Nathan Greene received a call about two kids playing with a soccer ball at Yancey Street Baptist Church and the resulting mishap.

“The kicked the ball in the window and broke it,” said Harklerode.

No adults were around but instead of running off and leaving the damage, the students called police to report the accident.

“No one told them to do it, they just knew it was the right thing to do,” said Harklerode. “They showed a level of maturity that we don’t see a lot.”

Harklerode said the boys told the pastor of the church they would pay for the damages, and even offered to work it off at the church. Impressed with the boys’ honesty, the pastor declined their offer, Harklerode said.

Not long after the incident, Officer Greene went to East McDowell Middle School to brag on the students to their principal Jennifer Croymans.

“He wanted to do something special in order to let these boys know how much he appreciated them and the integrity that they showed,” Croymans said. “As a school, we are very proud of our students and love that the Marion Police Department celebrates and supports our students.”

Greene ate lunch with the boys that day and even brought them a special treat from Sonic. They also received Citizenship Awards for their actions.

“Officer Green made a point to make these boys feel important, valued and respected,” said Croymans.