The Buchanan High School students were heading home from prom on a chartered bus when the driver alerted police.
Clovis Police responded to the driver's call around midnight.
After they showed up to where the bus was parked they determined that 38 students had been drinking.
This exclusive video shows students dressed in sweats and t-shirts lined up along the curb outside the in and out restaurant on Clovis and Herndon Saturday night.
A total of 90 students-riding in two charter busses asked drivers to take them here following Buchanan High School's junior and senior prom at Holland Park West in Northwest Fresno.
After arriving at the parking lot, the bus driver tells Action News he called Clovis Police when he noticed a girl in the group was visibly intoxicated.
"She was staggering pretty much and I had asked her, have you drank? She said yeah, I had quite bit to drink and she said some of my friends did too," Charlie Roberts said.
Clovis Police determined 38 students-all from the same bus--drank between a sip to a couple of drinks, which they had snuck onto the bus in plastic water bottles.
Investigators called parents to pick up their kids.
Five requested that their children be cited.
"You can't take them down to juvenile hall because you can't take intoxicated children there. That simply does not happen. So that is why they're cited out to their parents for their parents to go ahead and use their best judgment in regards to what's happened," Janet Stoll-Lee said.
Parents we spoke to Saturday were divided on the issue.
"Me as a father myself, I wouldn't want my son or daughter to be drinking on prom night, or any age before 21," Carl Williams said.
"It's terrible that the kids are drinking, yes. But, they hired a driver, they weren't driving," Stephanie Williams said.
Starting Monday, school officials plan to investigate the incident.
They say the punishments will vary, depending on who was involved-and whether or not any of the drinking took place during prom.
"The code of conduct, you wouldn't see expulsion. What you're looking at is the students lose the privilege that you're talking about and that could mean you know senior activities, missing a championship game."
Police say of the 38 students who were cited, 14 of them were under the age of 18-and that at least two students got sick.